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A wish list for 2020

Johnson City Press • Jan 1, 2020 at 6:45 AM

A new year inevitably brings hopes for improvement, whether it be through personal resolutions, a budget process or community initiatives. We all strive to cast aside burdens from the previous year while creating new opportunities.

With that in mind, a wish list for 2020:

— The Johnson City Development Authority will present concrete plans for both the relocation of John Sevier Center residents and the old hotel’s revitalization. The plans should be replete with specifics and a projected timeline.

— East Tennessee State University will take the lead role in the regionalism effort to improve economic development in the newly christened Appalachian Highlands. No other institution has a more comprehensive reach or the intellectual capacity necessary to facilitate the ambitious initiative.

— The Washington County Commission will extend to its students who attend Johnson City Schools the same financial support it has to those in the Washington County district. That will include funds for a new Towne Acres Elementary School and a promise to end the use of loopholes around equitable capital funding.

— Johnson City’s Boones Creek development district will take shape in tandem with the improvements at Exit 17 on Interstate 26. The project ultimately will result in new business, not a mere shift from existing locations in Johnson City.

— The Johnson City Commission will act on construction plans and funding sources for the West Walnut Street Corridor revitalization project

— Federal, state and local governments will commit to significant funding toward upgrading the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, particularly roads and bridges.

— Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee will present specific initiatives for integrating private trades, industrial, business and medical partnerships into high school career development training.

— Lee and the Tennessee General Assembly will fund ETSU’s proposed $72 million humanities building.

— Tennessee will finally resolve the gap in health care for the state’s residents who lack insurance.

Any number of other initiatives and needs could make this list, and it’s clear that local leaders have their hands full for 2020, especially in identifying priorities and financial resources.

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