Commission approves design of new downtown structure, votes to renew Princeton Arts lease

Gary B. Gray • Feb 21, 2013 at 9:28 PM

The area’s fresh food growers and connoisseurs of home-grown goods inched a little closer to getting a new downtown Johnson City farmer’s market Thursday when the City Commission unanimously approved a $35,000 contract with Thomas Weems Architect to design the structure.

The market will be located just across Wilson Avenue, a few steps north of the new Founder’s Park.

Preliminary drawings show Wilson transformed into a bicycle and pedestrian path. A drive-thru is planned for the market’s south side as well as canopy covered parking for 60. The city plans to add 25 spaces for overflow and an additional 50 spaces will be constructed on Commerce Street.

City Manager Pete Peterson said approval of the final design will come from a combination of the Johnson City Development Authority and the City Commission. Construction, which is expected to cost about $1 million will be paid for in tax increment financing, which has been earmarked by the Washington County Economic Development Council. The architect will be paid from unused bond proceeds, Peterson said.

Before the vote, Commissioner Ralph Van Brocklin inquired with Public Works Director Phil Pindzola about the idea of using a single architect for the market, as well as some upcoming streetscape design and future downtown renovations and improvements to help maintain the continuity of the look of the projects.

“He is also working with us on the new juvenile court,” Pindzola said. “He also fully understands that this is going to be a centerpiece downtown and that this will be compatible in appearance with Founders Park.”

Van Brocklin reiterated his inquiry and asked that his idea at least be considered as work goes forward.

The architect will do the design and then put a bid package together. Some consideration will be given to site work and so forth, but the city should be in a position to accept a bid in three to four months.”

Pindzola said city officials are looking at where to put the rest rooms. And since there’s a lot of stone work at Founder’s Park, they also will be using the same style of stone on the column supports at the farmer’s market.

The new market is expected to be finished sometime this fall.

Commissioners also approved a 1-year lease agreement with Washington County to use the Princeton Arts Center. The city will pay no rent, but it will be responsible for all utilities and maintenance.

The new agreement will go into effect March 13. It still is unclear what the city plans to do after that point. Assistant City Manager Charlie Stahl told commissioners that the city likely will be shelling out about $20,000 for a roof and an additional $5,000 in maintenance costs over the next year.

The city spent about $5,000 to $10,000 on maintenance of the building over the past 12 months, Stahl said.

In other business, commissioners:

- approved a third and final reading of an ordinance that amends the city’s zoning map to reflect the removal of the City-County Overlay and the establishment of the Corridor Overlay along the city right-of-way on the Boones Creek Road and Bobby Hicks Highway corridors in Gray.

These two areas run down the middle of the Suncrest Annexation, and the failed Bobby Hicks Highway annexation, and any properties within 300 feet from the edge of city right-of-way will be included. Properties outside the city would not be affect unless annexed into the city.

Basically, the difference in the two districts is the new overlay status removes additional requirements placed on new developments, according to Angie Charles, senior planner.

- approved a final reading of an ordinance to annex -- a property owner requested annexation -- slightly more than 10 acres along the Kingsport Highway which includes about 3,640 feet of Bobby Hicks Highway. This annexation was requested by the was a property owner.

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