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Walkabout to highlight history, revitalization of downtown Johnson City

Madison Mathews • Oct 22, 2012 at 8:47 AM

Downtown Johnson City’s past, present and future will be on display Thursday as the Economic Summit’s Business Development Focus Group will lead an informative stroll through the downtown area.

The downtown walkabout will lead up to Oct. 30’s 2012 Economic Summit, which will be held at the Millennium Centre in Johnson City.

East Tennessee State University President Dr. Brian Noland and Nashville Entrepreneur Center Director Michael Burcham will be the keynote speakers of this year’s Summit.

The walkabout is free and open to the first 100 registrants. It will start at 6 p.m. at Nelson Fine Art, 324 E. Main St., then head to Spark Plaza and One12 Downtown.

The event will end at the former CC&O Railroad Depot, where representatives from the Washington County Economic Development Council and Tupelo Honey Cafe will give an update on both downtown revitalization efforts and the Tupelo Honey project.

Appetizers and beverages will be available at the three downtown businesses featured in the walkabout.

Local historian Alan Bridwell will be on hand to dive into some of the most interesting chapters in the life of downtown Johnson City, including the Johnson City Sessions and its reputation as Little Chicago.

Economic Development Council Director of Marketing and Community Relations Jeff Keeling said the event is geared toward the area’s young professionals, entrepreneurs and small business owners and will offer a chance for attendees to mingle and network.

“We see entrepreneurism and entrepreneurial energy and small business energy as an important part of downtown’s development and the Johnson City metro’s development,” he said. “The Business Development subcommittee is really wanting to find substantive ways that it can contribute to that as part of the Summit process.”

As of Friday afternoon, registration was already at 80. If registration breaks the 100 mark by Thursday, Keeling said there are plans to do similar walkabout events several times a year, so there will be another chance if people happen to miss out on this week’s event.

To register, visit EconomicSummit.org and click on the Business Development link under the development groups tab.

For more information, email Jeff Keeling at keeling@thewcedc.com.

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