Advance Knox gives county communities a voice

Wendy SmithFarragut, The Farragut Insider

One thing I’ve learned during my time with the town of Farragut is that citizens want to be heard. They have ideas about what their community should look like and what could make it better.

Now is the time for those citizens to share their ideas through the Advance Knox process. Advance Knox is Knox County’s effort to define a vision and create a plan to guide growth, land use, transportation, economic prosperity and quality of life for years to come. The end result of this 18-month process will be an updated General Plan and transportation plan.

Last week was Ideas Week, a series of public meetings for sharing land use and transportation ideas. It was the kickoff for the first of three phases of public input. (No worries if you missed it. Ideas will be collected at through April 22.) I attended a virtual meeting that used the same prompts as several in-person meetings.

The first question was, what do you love most about Knox County? Online participants had many, many good things to say about their community. They love the weather, natural beauty, neighborhoods, rivers and ridges, and affordability of the Knoxville area. One of my favorite responses was “big little town,” which describes Knoxville well.

The next prompt was ideas for the future, and the categories were places, transportation and other. Responses in the places category included “keep Knox County green,” “consistency in code application” and “sidewalks that connect roads with subdivisions to parks and schools.” The transportation category included “coordinate anticipated new residential development with school facility planning” and “increase road width.” The “other” category was a catchall that several citizens used to express concerns about sustainability and maintaining the rural nature of certain parts of the county. The final piece of input was a map where participants could pin specific locations for their ideas.

If you would like to share your thoughts about the above subjects, take a moment to complete the survey at This is the stage for dreaming big. The plan won’t incorporate everyone’s ideas, but input received from the surveys will let the team know what’s important to citizens and get ready for the next stage of citizen input – Choices – scheduled for fall.

The final stage of input – Priorities – will happen in early 2023. (Kimley-Horn and Planning NEXT are facilitating the process; staff from Knox County and Knoxville-Knox County Planning support the work.)

I appreciate a quote that was on the bottom of one of the slides used during the virtual meeting: “In the absence of local planning, someone else will make decisions for you.” Knox County is an amalgamation of several distinct communities, like Farragut, each with its own character and goals. Each community needs to participate in this important planning process. The county is growing, so residents should expect their communities to grow, but with good planning, that growth will follow a blueprint created by citizens.

We’re planning now for the Knox County that we’ll leave to the next generation. Let’s leave them a good one.

Town of Farragut marketing and public relations coordinator Wendy Smith is your reliable Farragut insider.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *