Farragut Insider looks back on 2020

Wendy SmithFarragut, The Farragut Insider

My goal as the Farragut Insider is to share positive news about our town that will remind us of how good we have it. While this has obviously been a challenging year, some pretty great stuff happened in 2020. I hope that when you get to the end of this column, you’ll agree that the year wasn’t a complete dumpster fire.

Farragut celebrates 40 with a new community center

After years of hoping and waiting, Farragut got the ultimate anniversary gift on Jan. 16, 2020. The Town partnered with Knox County to open the Farragut Community Center and the West Knox Senior Center, and dignitaries from across the region came for the celebration.

The community center was christened with three lively events – the Farragut Photography Show, Songwriters Showcase and the Shamrock Ball – and numerous programs and classes were scheduled. But then…

COVID restyles events

On March 12, the Parks & Rec staff was told that all events at the community center were canceled through April 3 due to COVID-19. We were aghast at the idea of shutting down for three weeks. If only we had known.

While the Farragut Independence Day Parade couldn’t be salvaged, the Bob Watt Youth Fishing Rodeo was safely held at a later date, and Freaky Friday Drive-Through Boo was an enormous hit, even though it was on a smaller scale than usual (Some parents were thrilled to participate in Freaky Friday from the comfort of their cars!). While Countdown to Light the Park was canceled, attendance at the expanded Light the Park event has been off the charts, so Farragut has officially mastered the art of safe events.

Parks and such

Everyone appreciates parks more than ever, and the town of Farragut has improved or made progress toward improving several parks in 2020.

In March, Anchor Park renovations were completed, including an expanded restroom with a covered picnic area and entrance plaza, ADA access to fields, new benches and signage. In April, McFee Park Phase 3 construction began, which will result in a great lawn, four lighted tennis/pickleball courts, a basketball court, a restroom/large pavilion and a new walking trail loop. In August, the town accepted the gift of a 6.43-acre parcel that is the site of the historic Red Mill Dam from an anonymous donor. Eventually, the property will become a passive park and/or open space.

Finally, in December, the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation announced that Farragut had been chosen to receive a $750,000 play space in 2021. This inclusive, multi-generational BlueCross Healthy Place will be located behind Town Hall.

New plaza honors an old friend

The intersection of Campbell Station Road and Kingston Pike has been much improved with the addition of the Farragut Gateway, Admiral’s Corner and the renovated Campbell Station Inn. A beautiful new public space behind the inn was completed in November and named for Mayor Ralph McGill, who was a Farragut founder as well as mayor from 2009 to 2018. Mayor McGill was an advocate for the purchase and restoration of the inn, so it’s only appropriate that this beautiful gathering place bear his name.

Farragut staff and mayor recognized

Even during this upside-down year, town of Farragut staff and one elected official earned significant recognition. In February, Visit Farragut staff received the Best Festival/Event award for the Lawn Chair Concert Series from Middle East Tennessee Tourism Council. In June, Farragut Mayor Ron Williams was elected a vice president of the Tennessee Municipal League. In November, town staff had the pleasure of surprising Town Administrator David Smoak with the news that he’d been named City Manager of the Year by Tennessee City Management Association.

The best news of all is that 2020 is almost over. But before you sing Auld Lang Syne, be thankful for the good that’s happening in Farragut.

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

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