JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – Three companies are hoping to help a Tri-Cities downtown expand while also dealing with flooding problems.
The King Creek Basin is one spot in downtown Johnson City known for flooding. In the past, the water got so high it flooded nearby businesses.
Johnson City’s Founder’s Park helped with the flooding problem already and helped spur new businesses downtown.
Now the city is trying to do more to stop future flooding.
Wednesday, city officials heard from three different companies hoping to change the King Creek Basin into another attractive downtown park.
The corner of W. Market and N. Commerce Street has been Campbell’s Morrell Music’s home for the past 30 years.
And with time, comes knowledge.
“We try to keep things up off the floor just in case,” said owner David Campbell.
In case of flooding, because it is Campbell said has affected his store four times. It is also something Johnson City leaders hope to reduce.
“Before we would just lose control because there was no way to get it back into the system,” said Public Works Director Phil Pindzola.
The King Creek Basin project is designed to transform the old U-Haul site into a park, with the intention of improving downtown Johnson City’s drainage system.
“The water, whenever it was flooding, it was having difficulty getting back into the creek system because you were only dealing with small catch basins in the street. Now we have open channels we can run the water in,” Pindzola said.
But it’s not the only change coming.
“We’ve got artists who will come in and submit proposals for artistic design of railings,” said Pindzola. “The public art committee is also looking at placing a mural on one of the walls.”
Wednesday – Johnson City public works opened bids on the project.
Baker’s Construction proposed over $1,800,000. Two other companies – Summers Taylor and Thomas Construction – bid over $1.5 million each.
Purchasing Director Debbie Dillon said they will start with the low bid, but first, she said, “We have to verify that all the information we asked for has been included, that it’s correct.”
At the end of the day, Pindzola said of the project’s goal, “We’re really trying to make it family friendly.”
It is something Campbell, back at his music store, is excited to see.
“Everything they can do to make this a destination is like I said very welcome,” said Campbell.
Once the bid is approved, the next step is taking it to the city commission for approval.
After that, contracts can be signed and construction will begin. Construction will take about six months.
The city hopes to have the park project complete next summer.
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