Freedom Hall renovations continue, city talks plans for future revenue

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) –  While multi-million dollar renovations at Freedom Hall continue, city leaders have been working non-stop to make sure taxpayers get a lofty return on this investment.

For the last few months crews have been hard at work inside freedom hall on a massive renovation project. It is all work Candra Johnson says is long overdue.

“I think it really needs to be updated, yea I’ve always thought that, its just outdated we need something new,” Johnson said.

It may not be a brand new building but tax payers are paying for a $15 million upgrade to the decades old facility.

“I hope they spend it wisely, and you know we have something to be proud of,” Candra Johnson said.

Johnson City Vice Mayor David Tomita says renovating the building as opposed to build a new facility would have cost tax payers more than double what the city is spending on the current project.

He says while the building has its problems it is in pretty good shape.

“It is a great asset, its got great bones, it’s a solid building its been thoroughly checked before we took no the renovation,” Tomita said.

Right now the heating and air conditioning is being upgraded. Repairs are also being made to the roof. Tomita says the next step will be installing new seating.

In the mean time, city leaders are working to find ways to insure that the newly renovated facility brings in revenue.

“We just need to take a look at who plays that size venue, keep our expectations reasonable and it might take partnering with some outside book agents,” Tomita said.

Which could mean more shows and concerts in Johnson City.

“Then you don’t have to drive an hour or more to see a good concert or something, so that would be fantastic,” Johnson said.

The current repairs that are being made are expected to be finished by the end of the summer, while the seating renovation will be finished in October. The renovation project is expected to be fully completed in the fall of this year.

Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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