Letters: Empty 'eyesores' in downtown Johnson City

Contributed To The Press • Oct 8, 2017 at 12:00 AM

Two years ago, I didn’t know Johnson City, Tennessee, even existed. Then the proverbial twist of fate occurred and I relocated here from a larger city in Pennsylvania.

It is encouraging to see revitalization efforts going on as this city tries to bring more businesses and residents into downtown. I wonder, however, about the city’s decision to buy the Hands On! Museum building.

Many of the formerly empty buildings in the downtown streets once again have tenants as new businesses open, mainly restaurants and microbreweries. But there is a lack of other stores that one normally sees in vibrant shopping districts. Where are the mini grocery store, the candy and gift shop, the leather goods or stationary and card store? Where is the store that carries children’s clothes?

The city is facing the closing of a downtown landmark department store that will leave a void. Will a new women’s boutique or mens’ store open to fill that void?

It was recently announced that NN Inc. is planning to move its headquarters to Charlotte, North Carolina, which will be a blow to this city, especially after all the incentives and concessions that were awarded to them. In spite of all the efforts of the revitalization groups, there are still a number of empty buildings to contend with.

All of this equates to lost revenue for the city. Once the Hands On! Museum finally raises the rest of the money it needs to relocate. it will move to the Gray Fossil Site. How long will those properties on East Main Street remain vacant before acceptable tenants/owners move in to make those buildings revenue-producing for the city, or will they continue to be empty eyesores?


Johnson City

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