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Johnson City officials ask public for help in naming new green space

June 3rd, 2013 9:33 pm by Gary B. Gray

Johnson City officials ask public for help in naming new green space

Work continues on the area that has been commonly called Founder’s Park. On June 14, Johnson City will end its public online voting to name the park. The city is asking residents to go online and cast votes for their three favorite names from a list of 17

It’s been well-publicized, and it’s located on a highly visible stretch of property. 

Now it’s time to give it a name.

A 5-acre tract along State of Franklin Road is the first of several planned downtown construction projects aimed at reducing flooding, which also will include an open creek channel with sitting walls, an amphitheater and a large green space for play and special event activities.

Johnson City officials are asking citizens to help name the new public green space at the former Free Service Tire Co. site. Several community groups, including the Public Art Committee, members of the Johnson City Development Authority and city administrators have narrowed down a list of submitted names. Now, Johnson Citians are being asked to vote for their favorite three names from a list of the top 17 contenders. See those names at the end of this article.

The three top vote-getters will be submitted to the City Commission for their consideration.

On Oct. 18, the commission approved the first of eight planned phases of downtown flood mitigation when a $2.8 million bid by Johnson City’s Thomas Construction Co. to build the 5-acre Founder’s Park stormwater/park project won unanimous approval.

“A lot of things we’re doing is bringing Johnson City back to the master plan of the 1900s,” Phil Pindzola, Public Works Department director, said soon after the project was under way. “The environment is changing downtown; we’re creating a new image.”

The launching pad for that new image is what has been labeled Warehouse Commons and later Founder’s Park, the very visible project taking shape between Wilson Avenue, Main and Commerce streets and the Norfolk Southern Railway tracks.

Whatever it may eventually be named, the park’s completion is set for September.

This phase of the city’s $30 million long-range flood mitigation plan also is being built to please the eye and invite private interests to think twice before deciding on another community in which to invest. Sea walls are being built that will be terraced, meaning there will be three “steps” or grades from the top of the walls downward. Residents and visitors also will be getting a new 200-seat amphitheater at the northeastern end of the park, and construction of this feature should begin in a few weeks.

Brush Creek will meander through the park and include three waterfalls with the last one cascading into an area at the end of the park that then will be funneled under the railroad tracks. The park is being funded by stormwater fee revenues.

Just across Wilson Avenue, a few steps north of the park, land for the city’s new Farmer’s Market has been cleared and architects have updated the design.

The new market will stretch from Wilson to Main Street, and 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 officials and architect Thomas Weems still are working with the design, and it remains unknown if Wilson will be closed and utilized for pedestrian use.

The new Farmer’s Market and all its amenities hopefully will get a lift from the Johnson City Development Authority through about $1 million in tax increment financing. It, too, is expected to be complete this fall.

To vote, go to the city’s website,, or go to the direct link at to select your three favorites. Be sure to click “next” to go to the next page, then click “done” to submit your vote. Voting ends June 14.

- Blue Plum Greenway (The city’s first post office in 1850s was named Blue Plum)

- Brush Creek Commons (Brush Creek is one of two creeks downtown)

- Brush Creek Reserve

- Carter Commons (George L. Carter is considered the founding father of ETSU)

- Downtown Commons

- Founders Commons

- Founders Green

- Founders Park

- Franklin Green (This area of the state was first named the State of Franklin in 1784)

- Johnson Carter Commons (Henry Johnson was the city’s founder and first mayor)

- Johnson Commons

- Johnson’s Depot (Johnson’s Depot was the city’s first commercial business)

- Tanasi Commons (The word “Tennessee” originated from the Cherokee word “Tanasi”)

- The Commons

- The Falls (the green space will feature a series of small water features)

- Windsor Commons

- Windsor Square (Hotel Windsor was a grand and historic hotel from 1901-1971)

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