King Creek Basin project takes shape

Gary B. Gray • Feb 15, 2017 at 7:49 AM

Sunshine and mild temperatures Monday allowed workers to gain ground on the King Creek Basin project, which is set for completion in just under five months.

In October, Johnson City Commissioners approved a nearly $1.6 million bid from Thomas Construction to build what was then being referred to as King Creek Park — the roughly 3-acre downtown parcel originally conceived as a storm water fix.

“Thomas is out there doing some surveying and stockpiling soil that will be used for backfill and to level the site,” said Phil Pindzola, Public Works Department director. “They also are currently at a culvert at the west side of the park building a platform for the walkway that will be constructed.”

Jonesborough’s Southern Seeding also was in full swing, removing debris, including soil, stumps and rocks to create a trench along the basin before installing “coir logs.” The coconut fiber logs are used for erosion control.

“They will tie into the walls and extend along the entire creek bank,” Pindzola said.

The logs are tightly anchored to the ground and backfilled with soil so they are tightly packed against one another end to end. Plans call for various types of plants to be inserted.

Thomas Construction got the go-ahead to begin construction of the new park Dec. 26.

The contract time period is for 180 days, which brings the estimated completion date to the end of June. Pindzola said the contractor has begun construction, including the demolition of the existing culverts, and will move into mass grading as weather permits.

City crews are currently working with all utilities to bring their overhead lines underground in and around the site. They will also begin adjoining street reconstruction, including King Street and Commerce Street, as weather permits.

The former U-Haul site, still without an official name, has become more than a location where King Creek has been opened up and tied in to the old Brush Creek drainage route to alleviate flooding.

A $1,578,497 price tag will produce a park-like setting with an area in front of the Johnson City Public Library that could end up being an amphitheater or ice rink. There also will be a large mural painted on a wall near Atlantic Ale House, and the Johnson City Public Art Committee will solicit artists to design the railings.

Land acquisition, design and engineering, grading and other work has cost about $1.3 million. Construction will bring the estimated total to about $2.9 million.

The design incorporates walkways made with Van Gogh iridescent materials, which absorb sunlight during the day and glow at night. The same material has been suggested for placement in the areas where runoff flows into the basin from Commerce and McClure streets.

Stone walls will grace the park’s plaza and at points along the walkway nearest King Street, at three bridges and along a wall behind Campbell’s Morrell Music on West Market Street, which will be illuminated at night.

Smaller walls that will be constructed in a semi-circular position at the plaza, known as “seat walls” will allow for just that. These same walls will be placed on a portion of the walkway nearest King Street.

An additional 60 parking spaces — 30 near King Street and 30 on Commerce Street at the park’s main entrance, will be built. More spaces will be created after construction, and the portion of Commerce Street fronting the park will be repaved.

Email Gary Gray at [email protected]. Like Gary B. Gray on Facebook at www.facebook.com/garybgrayjcp. Follow him on Twitter @ggrayjcpress.

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