For decades flooding in the downtown area of Johnson City has been a problem for the business community. This is most apparent when rainfall is above normal and flooding is frequently at storefronts. A flood control plan is a priority for the Downtown Redevelopment Task Force and is necessary to ensure stability of present and future economic development of the downtown area.
Lamar Dunn & Associates of Johnson City, lead consultant in water resources and flow analysis, has proposed a $30 million flood control plan. It will include detention areas, new bridges, and streams throughout downtown to catch natural and flood flow. The plan provides aesthetic features such as waterways, greenways, waterfalls and walkways creating a park-like atmosphere that will meander throughout downtown. According to the engineers, when completed, this plan will eliminate damage from a 100-year flood.
The entire implementation project will take place over 15-20 years at a cost of $30 million with the majority being federally funded.
Since this plan was first proposed in 2009 there has been some modification and much progress made in implementation of the overall plan.
First Phase: The City Commission has approved acquisition of property along King Creek between Boone and Commerce Streets and construction of temporary detention to help eliminate downtown flooding until future phases are completed.
First phase also includes purchase of property between Sevier Street and Wilson Avenue.
The commission has authorized negotiation to buy properties (including the U-Haul business site) from Boone to Commerce Streets. Also included in the first phase is negotiation to purchase the former Free Service retail store.
All of this property will be part of Founders Park that will feature green spaces, bridges, benches, night lighting, walking trails and other amenities. (See Founders Park Concept below.)
This and other parks and green spaces proposed in future phases of the overall plan will stimulate the growth of private sector growth such as restaurants, boutiques, specialty shops, and small commercial businesses. The recent proposal by Northeast State Technical Community College to locate a learning center branch in downtown Johnson City should have a huge positive impact on downtown economic development. The surrounding park-like atmosphere will enhance the Northeast State Site.