MLB star Daniel Norris headlining event to build new nature park

JOHNSON CITY (WJHL) – A Tri-Cities native turned star baseball player will help raise money this weekend for a new educational center at a Johnson City nature park.

Daniel Norris is a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers and one of the rising stars in Major League Baseball.

Norris will be the featured guest at a fundraiser on Saturday to raise money for a project called “Jacob’s Nature Park at Sinking Creek”.


The park would serve as an outdoor learning center named after Jacob Francisco, a Johnson City boy who died of E coli infection.   His family is spearheading the project in cooperation in cooperation with the Boone Watershed Project which is working to restore Sinking Creek where high levels of E. coli have been detected.

Jacob Francisco. Credit:
Jacob Francisco. Credit:

The City of Johnson City ruled the 28 acres of land undevelopable and designated the area for a nature park.

The Franciso family asked Daniel Norris to help with the event.

“I was touched by it,” Norris told News Channel 11.  “The fact that his dad, Bill Francisco, wanted to make Jacob’s legacy famous through a community outreach type thing, I thought that was really cool and it was a no-brainer to say yes.”

The event is called “Support the Dream with Daniel Norris for Jacob’s Nature Park at Sinking Creek.”

It will be held Saturday from 5 – 9:30 pm at the ETSU D.P. Culp Auditorium.

VIP ticket holders will have a chance to meet Daniel Norris before the main event.


At the event, News Channel 11’s Kasey Marler will interview Norris.  Norris says he’ll talk about his passion for conservation, his rise in the MLB and career with the Detroit Tigers, and his 2015 thyroid cancer diagnosis.

You’ll see a preview interview with Norris Thursday on News Channel 11 at 6 p.m..

Copyright 2015 WJHL.  All rights reserved.


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