The City Commission awarded a nearly $1.4 million contract Thursday to Johnson City’s C&T Construction to develop the Memorial Park Community Center’s Main Street component.
Commissioners have been reviewing plans and renderings provided by local architect Tony Street that would enhance the Memorial Park campus. This move creates a plaza honoring veterans with the famous Doughboy as its centerpiece, as well as concrete walkways and other amenities.
Construction also will include an amphitheater accessible from the plaza, lots of green space and wrought iron fencing and concrete walkways that guide visitors not only around the park but also to and from its features.
In January, Johnson City commissioners, administrators, department heads, planners, staff members and architects pushed through a three-hour meeting to sort out how much money was and/or will be available for certain capital improvements.
Three priorities emerged, and each commissioner preferred slightly different strategies for the Memorial Park campus, Cardinal Park and Freedom Hall Civic Center. That is when this project first became one of the city’s top priorities.
“Originally, we started out with a labyrinth and a splash pond, but that’s been taken out,” said Commissioner Ralph Van Brocklin. “The base bid includes an entrance off Main Street that would accentuate the statue. The plaza would broaden out and run from there all the way to Bert Street. There also will be a walking track around the campus.”
Commissioners still have the option of adding other amenities over time, including the construction of masonry walls along certain streets.
“With all the time and effort we’ve put into the community center, it would be a waste not to improve that campus,” said Mayor Jeff Banyas.
This component will compliment the new $15 million, 67,000-square-foot community center that is expected to open in early July.