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Letters: What should the city do with the Keefauver farm

Johnson City Press • Nov 10, 2019 at 6:00 AM

We asked with Monday’s Question of the Week what Johnson City should do with the former Keefauver property. Here are some of the responses we received.

A park for everyone

The need for park land is great in almost every location in the entire country. People need open space in the areas where they live and work.

The Johnson City Commission purchased the subject property during a time of extreme annexation of property by every city in the state. As a consequence of this extreme annexation fever, the state Legislature applied the brakes and now it appears as though the builders in the area are lobbying to get their hands on the Keefauver property for development purposes. Keefauver children are rightfully very upset that this is happening and are not willing for that to happen with the City Commission.

There is a solution that makes a lot of sense and that is to combine the city and county governments, school boards, law enforcement, fire and rescue services into one consolidated government organization. Not only is there great cost efficiency to be realized, but, there would also be a reduction in the infighting that goes on in the current governmental environment. The real question is "Why not?" Then the Keefauver property becomes a park for the entire populace to use.

JACK COHOON
Johnson City

Preserve the history

Without question the Keefauver Farm needs to be a nature park. There are a host of reasons but here are three good ones.

Mr. & Mrs. Billy Joe Keefauver sold the land to the city of Johnson City because they were promised it would be a park. This is a point of honor, not just to that family but to future generations.

There is no park on the north end of Johnson City to serve the fastest-growing geographic area of our population.

A nature park is the perfect companion to the state recognized historic farm house, which will hopefully be the future home of the Boones Creek Historical Trust pending a City Commission vote.

The 250 members of the Boones Creek Historical Trust have a vision that has been 30 years in the making. Showcasing the cultural heritage of Tennessee's first community would be best served and enriched surrounded by a nature park.

The face of Boones Creek is rapidly changing. Our beautiful pastureland is being encroached upon by "progress." In 1757, Daniel Boone declared this to be "some of the goodliest land he had traversed." Let's save a little bit of heaven. Let's keep our word. Let's do the right thing.

VICKI SHELL
Johnson City

Honor the family

Winston Churchill once said, “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never — nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.”

As one of the Keefauver daughters, I know what Johnson City promised our parents and what our parents left this world believing would happen to their property. There is nothing preventing the city from honoring their commitment to our parents and making their farm a park.

First of all, the city can annex property it owns. It is what they did when they bought Winged Deer and the Tweetsie Trail (which they bought from Carter County). Both of these parks were outside the city limits when purchased by the city. Also, the farm is only approximately 400 yards from the city limits.

Secondly, Johnson City is growing in the direction of the farm and we need to protect and provide green space for city residents on that side of town.

Finally, the farm is perfect for a park. There is a large wide open field, ponds, a natural spring, and wooded ridge (great for biking or walking trails). Because of the natural lay of the land a wonderful nature park could be established without the city spending a lot of money. That would be a great contribution to our community.

In conclusion, we are asking the city to follow what Winston Churchill advised — do what is honorable and what makes good sense.

REBECCA ALEXANDER
Jonesborough

Want to have your voice heard? Send a Letter to the Forum. Authors must sign their letters and include addresses and phone numbers for verification. Letters may be no longer than 300 words and will be edited for grammar, style and length. Send your submission to Mailbag, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605-1717 or [email protected].

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