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Johnson City approves $129,000 contract to repair downtown breezeway wall

David Floyd • Sep 10, 2019 at 7:42 PM

A partially closed breezeway in downtown Johnson City with a now-demolished veneer wall could be repaired before the end of the year.

The Johnson City Commission approved a $129,211 contract with Mitch Cox Construction Inc. on Sept. 5 to replace the veneer wall at the breezeway on East Main Street. The company was the lowest bidder out of five applicants, according to city records.

The city hired the same firm last October to demolish the 4-inch veneer wall after noticing it was at risk of falling. The building’s wall has been exposed since late 2018, and the city has fenced off that side of the breezeway.

“It’s safe and secure, but it’s just not aesthetically pleasing,” said Randy Trivette, the city’s director of facilities management, back in August.

Trivette said Monday the contractor will construct a new, 15-foot brick veneer, and above that portion of the structure, the company will repair the existing brick wall, leaving it as is, before applying a waterproof material.

"I think that’ll have a nice look for downtown to maintain that brick and kind of rustic appeal to the downtown buildings,” he said.

The fence will come down after the contractor finishes their repairs, Trivette said. As is, he said the wall itself is safe.

“I’m just concerned at the top where the roof ties into the coping there may be some loose pieces of brick or something, and we just want to keep people away from that side,” Trivette said.

The city had initially weighed a few materials for the top portion of the project, including ribbed metal siding and HardieBoard, before settling on the final fix.

Dianna Cantler, downtown development director for the Johnson City Development Authority, said the JCDA hopes to add lighting, seating and art in the breezeway once repairs are complete, which may need to be done in two phases depending on the cost. That beautification project would need approval from the Historic Zoning Commission.

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