After months of construction, Johnson City’s King Commons Park formally opened Friday.
Work on the park and its surroundings was finished in December. But on Friday evening, city officials, employees and those included in the park's design and construction and planning cut a ribbon to make the opening official.
"We’ve taken a flood control project and turned it into a beautiful place. Any time you can get a two-for-one it’s a good thing," Johnson City Mayor David Tomita said.
The three acres of recreational and event space includes winding paths, a mural and an amphitheater that Public Works Director Phil Pindzola said can seat up to 2,000 people. Playful blue railing from the Metal Museum in Memphis features metal designs of flowers like milkweed and irises.
King Commons also features a large, colorful mural on the side of downtown business Atlantic Alehouse by Asheville-based artist Ian Brownlee — and a newly refurbished black-and-white Johnson City landmark sign that was officially finished in September.
During construction the city also added 40 new parking spaces near the park that lies between West King Street and Commerce Street. The whole project cost roughly $3 million.
King Commons is as functional as it is visibly appealing: its winding paths and walls are also built to contain and direct floodwater.
According to Andy Best, assistant director of Public Works, the way the park is built with its walls and landscaping not only helps control floodwater but prevents erosion. It is on the lower end of Johnson City's down townarea and will have water in it when it floods.
The park was a joint effort by different organizations throughout the city including the Public Works Department, the Johnson City Development Authority, Public Art Committee, Thomas Construction and more.
Pindzola said that the parks was designed to bring people downtown. Now, all that's left is for the community to use it.
"I just want to see the place fill up. Then I'll be happy," said Pindzola.