Letters: What should Johnson City do with the Keefauver Farm?

Johnson City Press • Nov 17, 2019 at 6:00 AM

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

Your word is your bond

I believe that your word is your bond. It is my understanding that the Keefauvers sold the farm with the understanding that it would be developed into a park. I believe that there is a great need for a park in that area. There is a great number of housing developments in that area and that gives a need for green space parks. With that need and the Keefauver farm in the center of a 5-mile radius that has approximately 10,000 residents, I believe it is imperative that a park be established at the Keefauver farm.

Please do the right thing and develop a park at the Keefauver farm.


What was promised

The focal point of this question revolves around what did the city father’s promise Billie Joe & Jean Keefauver when the property was acquired approximately 10 years ago. It seems the family of the deceased owners remember the city “promising” to establish a park at the site.

The house and quonset hut barn and two acres reside on a historical domain and very little can be done with that portion of the property. The remaining 50+ acres are what is in question.

First, the city leaders need to ascertain what, if any, promises were made during the purchase and abide by those promises. The city needs to ascertain if any “promise” was made in writing. It must be understood, just because city leaders often change, promises should not be broken or dismissed by present city leaders. If not in writing, surely the city leaders must know who negotiated the purchase of the property with the Keefauver’s and ask them “what promises were made by the city negotiators?”

Secondly, the city leaders need to communicate and coordinate with the Keefauver family and arrive at a reasonable, equitable and agreeable resolution to the use of the 50+ acres. The financial settlement can not and must not be the only consideration to resolve this issue. The “love” of money is the root of all kinds of evil.


A park would be an asset

In my opinion, Johnson City’s plan to transfer federal status for outdoor recreation from the Keefauver Farm to Winged Deer Park does not honor the original agreement with the Keefauver Family. The Keefauver family sold the property to Johnson City with the understanding that it would only be used for outdoor recreational purposes.

The Keefauver property is an ideal site for outdoor recreation such as: ball fields, hiking paths, playgrounds, picnic areas, and other outdoor family activities.

Johnson City is expanding in this area with new subdivisions and businesses being developed close to the Keefauver farm.

This park would be an asset to the local community and future generations. Please honor the original agreement regarding the intent of the Keefauver property.

Johnson City

Don’t waste the opportunity

I truly believe it would be a mistake not to build a park on the Keefauver Farm property. The property is perfect for many recreational opportunities such as: hiking and bike trails, softball/baseball/soccer fields and jogging. There is also a spring and pond with limitless possibilities for learning about nature and the importance of water from a natural spring.

Swapping this property for any other property would show bad judgement and not provide a needed recreational area which was what the Keefauver Family were told by Johnson City officials.

A historical marker was dedicated just a few months ago describing the great history of this farm. I guess that’s not important to Johnson City officials.

For once, why not do what you said you would do? Build the park!

Johnson City

Johnson City Press Videos