Johnson City breaks ground on legacy project

Robert Houk • Oct 3, 2019 at 8:00 PM

Johnson City officials joined major donors and Sesquicentennial Commission members in breaking ground Thursday on the Natural Adventure Area, the second phase of a legacy project celebrating the 150th anniversary of the city’s municipal charter.

City Mayor Jenny Brock said the adventure area will include state-of-the-art features to promote an active lifestyle for people of all ages, including her young grandchildren, who were among those braving the record-setting October heat during a ceremony at King Commons. 

Brock said she hopes they will be able to tell their own children they “were here on the day” that work began on the multi-generational park.

The adventure area will be built near the Johnson City Public Library and adjacent to the Legacy Plaza, which is now under construction at King Commons and is scheduled to be dedicated on the Dec. 1 anniversary of the city’s charter. A time capsule will also be buried at Legacy Plaza on that date.

The Natural Adventure Area will feature an outdoor classroom and music play structures, as well as more traditional playground activities.

The nearby Legacy Plaza includes a history circle with four concentric rings featuring 31 engraved blocks that list key dates and information about Johnson City’s history. The “Tri-Star” area pays tribute to the Tennessee flag, which was designed by Johnson City resident Col. LeRoy Reeves.

Brock said the legacy project shows the City Commission has “taken it to heart to not just light birthday candles, but to help teach the city’s history dating back to 1869.”

Donna Noland, who led the Sesquicentennial Commission’s successful fundraising efforts for the legacy project, said the natural area will help promote the city’s motto as an outdoors community: “Go all out.” She said the park will “continue to transform the downtown of our city.”

She said the legacy project would not be possible without the generosity of both public and private donors, including a major contribution from Ballad Health.

Alan Levine, Ballad’s president and CEO, said the adventure area promotes a lifestyle that will help “modify behaviors” and improve health care outside the hospital setting.

 “It’s great to be a part of this,” Levine said.

Johnson City Press Videos