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Retrospect: 2011
A brief look at some of the events, decisions and news impacting Farragut residents in 2011


A Costco storefront similar to what is currently planned for construction at the corner of Kingston Pike and Lovell Road in Farragut.- File photo
Recessionary aches and pains continued to surge through the local economy in 2011, yet popular nationwide retailer Costco announced its move to Farragut (corner of Kingston Pike-Lovell Road) in May.

Meanwhile, an estimated $680,000 was set aside by Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen purely for aesthetics (historical lighting) late in 2011 after Town officials declared Farragut “historic” in July.

Other front page news in farragutpress during 2011 included red-light cameras: new cameras at intersection of Campbell Station and Grigsby Chapel roads in May. Yet a new state law co-sponsored by District 14 state Rep. Ryan Haynes made camera enforcement of illegal right turns on red unenforceable unless right turns on red are always illegal at those intersections.

As a result, Farragut’s photo enforcement vendor, Redflex, filed suit over the state law Nov. 14.

Farragut’s Photo Enforcement Manager Ben Harkins didn’t pull any punches when he said about the new law, “I think this is an incredibly bad idea.”


Top political moves included creating new county commission district lines to more closely parallel school board district lines. Newly appointed school board chair Thomas Deakins (District 6) no longer represents Farragut, which moved to District 5 and now is represented on school board by Karen Carson.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Republican presidential candidate, visited Fox Den Country Club Sept. 29, while Farragut elections resulted in Alderman Ron Honken (Ward I) and Vice Mayor Dot LaMarche (also alderman Ward II) being elected without opposition in April.

Farragut held its last spring election in 2011, with the next Town election set for August 2014.

Major transfers of property along Parkside Drive were highlighted by a portion of Turkey Creek shopping center selling for $131.7 million late in 2011, marking the Pinnacle at Turkey Creek “the largest open-air retail asset to trade in the history of Tennessee and one of the largest to trade in the U.S. during 2011 …,” according to Chris Decoufle of CB Richard Ellis’s National Retail Investment Group, which represented the sellers.

Colonial Properties Trust and Turkey Creek Land Partners sold Colonial Pinnacle Turkey Creek — which includes much of the Farragut end of Turkey Creek — grossing 659,208 square feet and sitting on more than 79 acres.

Mercy Health Partners sold its Parkside drive hospitals to Health Management Associates, based out of Florida, with the system renamed Tennova Healthcare.

Meanwhile, long-awaited Turkey Creek Public Market opened Aug. 12.

Road improvements underway included Northshore-Westland Drive intersection, Northshore-Choto intersection center turn lane and stop light — with a new Weigel’s and eight retail and office buildings planned along that intersection — Outlet Drive extension (from just past Cotton Eyed Joe to Snyder Road and Campbell Station Road) and Everett Road turn-lane additions and new stop-light (low bid a little more than $2 million).

Just when Town and County officials tried to acquire access to Adm. James David Glasgow Farragut’s historical marker — the marker dedicating his birthplace was installed in the early 1900s — from private property owners, the marker was discovered missing in September and, at last report, was thought to be in Texas.

Around 100 people came out to remember and honor the late David Rodgers, first Town attorney and member of the group that incorporated Farragut in 1980, during a ceremony at Town Hall Aug. 7.

Following years of legal wrangling between Town officials and Pilot Corporation concerning sign ordinance compliance, Pilot relented and removed its long-standing “skyline” sign along Campbell Station Road and installed a roughly four-foot tall sign in May.

Rampant stormwater drainage leaking problems at The Farm at Willow Creek were beginning to be addressed thanks to Blalock & Sons’ bid of $1,125,000 to fix the problems, approved by Board of Mayor and Aldermen July 28. That happened only after BOMA announced a few weeks earlier that “Farm” repairs actually came in over budget. During its meeting Thursday, Oct. 27, the Board approved a change order in the amount of $19,546.90 after a “large hole” in the system was discovered.

Farragut’s proposed Community Center, given an estimated $13 million price tag in February, and remains in the Town’s future plans.

Farragut’s opportunity to install infrastructure for electric cars at local businesses or public areas, first introduced in March, was on the shelf by December. The impasse largely revolves around an issue with advertising on ECOtality units, which were planned for placement at Town Hall and three Town parks: Mayor Bob Leonard, McFee and Campbell Station.

With Bearden High School boys basketball came painfully close to winning its first-ever state championship, two familiar state powerhouses once again went all the way: Farragut baseball won its fourth consecutive Class AAA state title in May and Christian Academy of Knoxville captured its third Class A/AA state crown in four seasons in early November.

While Hardin Valley Academy boys soccer won the Class AAA state title last May in only its third season of existence, CAK football cleared its “Alcoa” hurdle by dethroning the seven-time state champs to claim the Class 3A state crown in December.

In other top news of 2011:

February

• Several parents of Knox County Schools students organized a group, Concerned Knox County Parents, and made it their mission to expunge Planned Parenthood from KCS’s list of approved guest speakers. The movement began during the 2010-11 school year when Planned Parenthood gave a presentation in Hardin Valley Academy’s lifetime health and wellness class without having sent the appropriate parental consent forms to parents.

• Farragut High School principal Michael Reynolds finally agreed to open FHS driveway at Campbell Station when Town agreed to construct an island prohibiting left turns from FHS.

• Farragut Municipal Planning Commission approved a change to Town requirements stating developers obtain unanimous consent from homeowners when making large changes to subdivision concept plans (75 percent homeowners approval to change).

March

• Northshore Town Center, a 134-acre tract along Northshore Drive near Pellissippi Parkway serving as a future home to Publix and Target, got a push toward continued development. Knox County Commission approved $9 million tax increment financing for more infrastructure improvements.

• Farragut’s employees, on average, are underpaid: news Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen heard during a workshop Thursday, March 24, after Springsted Inc. presented a classification and compensation study to the Board.

April

• It’s official: Farragut’s population has topped 20,000.

“We’ve crossed a new threshold,” Mayor Ralph McGill told the audience during Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting Thursday, March 24.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau website, Farragut’s population is 20,689 — up from 17,720 in 2000.

• Lenoir City Utilities Board has said it won’t be laying off employees in the face of possible debt difficulties — but does that leave ratepayers with the tab? LCUB general manager Shannon Littleton said no.

May

• The first-ever meeting of the three Knoxville-area mayors was all about getting to know each other, Farragut Mayor Ralph McGill said. McGill met with Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and then interim Knoxville Mayor Daniel Brown Wednesday, May 4, in Farragut Town Hall.

November

• Republican Becky Duncan Massey was elected state senator, District 6, defeating Democrat Gloria Johnson.

• Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved, on first reading, substantial changes to the Town’s special events sign permit ordinance, which allows businesses to erect signs for ribbon cuttings, grand openings, sales and the like.

• After months of discussion, Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen finally approved supplements to its new retirement plan during its meeting Tuesday, Nov. 15.

The Board approved a one-time contribution that would pay all employees 2 percent of their current salary for each year of service working for the Town. The Board also approved a supplemental retirement program in addition to Social Security, which the Board voted to join in April.

December

• Farragut Mayor Ralph McGill accepted an award as the Beacon Center’s “Most Business-Friendly City in Tennessee” for 2011 Monday afternoon, Dec. 5.

• Robert Paul Talley, 40, a former Alcoa High School history teacher/girls softball coach from Concord, was indicted by a Blount County Grand Jury Dec. 5 on five counts of statutory rape by an authority figure, two counts of sexual battery by an authority figure and two counts of solicitation of a minor for sexual battery by an authority figure.

 

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