Founders Park getting permanent bridge across Brush Creek

Zach Vance • Dec 20, 2018 at 11:50 PM

The Rotary Club has gained approval to make yet another philanthropic contribution to the Johnson City community.

On Thursday, Johnson City commissioners unanimously approved a request from the club to finance the construction of a permanent bridge across Brush Creek in Founders Park.

The Rotary Club’s board has authorized up to $75,000 to build the bridge, which includes materials, geologic reports, the actual bridge structure, concrete and crane services.

According to the agenda summary, if more funding is needed, the club will be “obligated to cover such” costs. The city has agreed to provide labor in the form of design and construction services.

Public Works Director Pindzola said the permanent bridge will be built near the same location where a temporary bridge has been used in the past for festivals and events.

That 16-by-8-foot portable bridge was built by the city’s Public Works Department a few years ago for about $6,200. To meet fire codes, the city has installed the portable bridge for large gatherings, such as the TriPride Festival and Blue Plum Festival.

Since Founders Park was built, the greenspace has featured just one permanent bridge near its amphitheater, but the five-acre park has lacked one near the “great lawn area” on the park’s south end.

“The big thing for me was if I bring my grandparents into town, they really couldn’t go to the great lawn unless I just parked in that lot (off Sevier Street), and they walked across the road. There was no way for us to really get them there from a Wild Wings or something because they couldn’t go down the stairs. So this is a real way for them to ... have access to the park,” Rotarian Brackton Smith told commissioners.

“If you guys go down there, which I know you do, when the temporary bridge is left up after a festival, it gets used all the time. So this is a way that we could really stamp the Rotary name somewhere in Johnson City and make a small improvement in a big way.”

Property Sale

Commissioners also voted to sell 1,491 square feet of city-owned property at the corner of Buffalo Street and State of Franklin Road, for $8,946 to a man wanting to build a restaurant at 104 Tipton Street.

In a letter to the city, Michael Mansy outlined his proposal, saying the city-owned property is needed to “make the numbers work.”

“The current property at 104 Tipton is an empty lot, and we would like to construct a two-level, all brick building on the lot that will be occupied by a new restaurant for the Stir-Fry Group. In order to make the numbers work, we need the additional excess city property next to our lot,” Mansy wrote in his letter.

“The cost of the building and the build out for the restaurant will be approximately $1 million.”

Mansy said the city would ultimately benefit from the transaction because the restaurant would produce substantially more property tax revenue and sales tax revenue than the $70 he currently pays per year in property taxes. He also said the new restaurant would employ 30 employees.

“The building of a new property downtown will encourage others to invest in our beautiful city. The Stir-Fry Group has an excellent reputation of providing excellent food, beautiful restaurants and giving back to our community,” Mansy wrote.

Police officers recognized

One of the first orders of business Thursday was the recognition of five Johnson City Police Department officers, who earned annual awards from the Tennessee Highway Safety Office and the Tennessee Narcotics Officers Association.

Matt Gryder earned the officer of the year designation by the Tennessee Narcotics Association; Alex Garrison earned a Beyond the Stop recognition from THSO; David Smith earned a speed enforcement recognition from the THSO; Will Saulsbury earned the officer of the year designation from the THSO; and James Curtis earned the officer of the year designation from the THSO.

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