Given the dry conditions that have plagued the region, it might be hard for some Johnson City residents to be concerned about flooding. Even so, business owners in the downtown area know all too well what a deluge from a severe summer thunderstorm can do to city streets.
They remember the summer storm of 2002 that dumped nearly 3 inches of rain in the downtown area in less than an hour. A severe storm also crossed Johnson City on Sunday, downing trees and dumping a lot of rain in a short amount of time.
This time, however, city businesses did not need sandbags to keep water from coming through their front doors. Thanks to ongoing flood abatement work in the downtown area, street flooding has been kept to a minimum.
Work continues on the $4.5 million Founders Park project that will open up Brush Creek and create much-needed green space in downtown. This is just one part of a $30 million long-range flood mitigation plan that will not only help direct floodwaters away from downtown, but also attract people and investors to the area.
Much has been said in recent years about what is needed to breathe new life into downtown Johnson City. There have been many good ideas discussed, such as revamping the facades of buildings, beautifying the streets and encouraging more housing in the area. None of this will be possible, however, until the city is successful in ending the flooding problems downtown. It’s good to see the city is now on the right track.