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Johnson City seeking grant to help extend park land

Nathan Baker • Jan 13, 2018 at 10:44 PM

A Johnson City park could expand to neighboring properties with amenities and equipment designed to fit with officials’ attempts to brand the city as an outdoor destination.

The Johnson City Development Authority board is considering applying for a grant to help pay for playground equipment, a small bicycle pump track and other design features for land across from the new King Commons Park downtown.

Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership Downtown Development Manager Dianna Cantler, a liaison for the Development Authority board, said the matching grant would require a 50-percent buy in from the city.

The grant covers up to $75,000, and Cantler said early estimates put the park work at $100,000 without including the cost for block work for the amphitheater on the land.

The area in question is across King Street from the new park and to the south of West Millard Street, near the Johnson City Public Library.

It includes a grassy section that is naturally terraced for the amphitheater, and Cantler said she hopes the venue will have room for 1,000 spectators.

Development Authority board member Brent Long said the proposed slides built into the terrain, log-frame swing sets and landscaping rocks will fit in well with the Regional Economic Partnership’s plans to market Johnson City as an outdoor recreation destination.

“That’s not something you say, it’s something that you want that to become an integral part of your identity,” Long told his fellow board members. “You have to start to weave that thread through the projects that you do.”

He said adding the features and equipment will give the space more utility than only the amphitheater, which the city previously planned.

The Development Authority Board did not vote on the proposal, and Long and Cantler said it was only in the early stages of development.

The grant application is due by the end of the month.

Cantler said she expects to present the project to the Johnson City Commission later this month, seeking a contribution from the city for the required matching funds.

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