Sesquicentennial Commission takes another look at key dates

Robert Houk • Mar 13, 2019 at 12:00 AM

Johnson City Sesquicentennial commissioners decided Tuesday take another look at the historical dates to be included on the 150th celebration’s legacy project.

Commissioners said they were unsure of the list of dates they were provided by city staff at the meeting. Dates of significant events from the Johnson City’s past are slated to be a part of History Circle markers placed in the History Plaza to be constructed in King Commons.

A list presented to the Sesquicentennial Commission on Tuesday contained 26 dates, beginning in 1769 with William Bean, Johnson City’s first documented white settler, building a cabin at the confluence of Carroll Creek, Knob Creek and the Watauga River, and ending in 2005 with the creation of the Bill Gatton School of Pharmacy at East Tennessee State University.

Commissioners said the list of dates needed to be narrowed and more tightly vetted. Commissioner Marcy Walker told her colleagues she felt the list before them was “slanted to public works.” The list includes 1887, the date of the city’s first public water supply, and 1889, the year the city’s first park — Powell Square — was created.

Hal Hunter, a member of the commission’s History Committee, said the list was more “ elaborate” and contained more than 40 dates when the committee began its discussions.

Commissioners voted to send the list to its Fundraising Committee for additional review. The dates will come back to the Sesquicentennial Commission for its approval before they are sent to the City Commission for a final vote.

In other matters Tuesday, the Sesquicentennial Commission voted to allocate $1,400 to an Oct. 2  event at ETSU to plant trees and place a sesquicentennial plaque on campus.The university had asked for $2,250 for the event. Walker said the full amount would likely be funded if the money becomes available at a later date.

Commissioners also voted to authorize planners of a black-tie “Legacy Birthday Celebration” to spend $30,000 that is allocated to secure the Millenium Centre to hold a wrapup to the year-long celebration on Nov. 30. Tickets sold to attend the banquet, as well as corporate sponsors and donors, are expected to reimburse some of that cost.


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