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Johnson City Commission executes contract to fix downtown breezeway wall

Zach Vance • Oct 8, 2018 at 12:40 PM

Anyone visiting downtown Johnson City in recently has likely noticed the breezeway connecting the downtown square parking lot to Main Street has been closed to the public and gated on both ends. 

That’s because the veneer brick wall on the east side of the alleyway is at risk of falling, and Johnson City commissioners voted Thursday to execute a contract with Mitch Cox Construction to demolish the wall. 

“This has been going on for probably five months. We noticed it when they were removing the roof of the breezeway. (There was) some belling, and the potential for the falling of the east breezeway brick wall,” Johnson City Facilities Director Randy Trivette told commissioners.

“It was very, very dangerous. Since I’ve been monitoring, it's continuing to move.” 

Trivette said the city hired architect Tony Street of Beeson, Lusk & Street to examine the wall and determine the best way to repair it. 

Four different construction companies submitted bids, and city officials selected Mitch Cox Construction, which submitted a low bid of $51,101.

“We’re recommending approval (of the bid) so we can demo the wall, move the electrical panels, recap the roof that’s on the adjacent wall that belongs to another tenant (and) patch the concrete back where they’re going to remove the concrete pillars,” Trivette said.

“So it will open up that breezeway completely so that, whatever the future holds, you guys can better decide how you want to use that breezeway or what you want the purpose of it to be. And it will remove the safety hazard.” 

Once the demo is completed, Trivette said his crew will determine whether the brick veneer wall needs to be replaced or whether some type of waterproof sealer can be put on the interior wall. 

City Manager Pete Peterson has previously said he thought water was leaking behind the veneer brick, causing it to bow. 

Work on the wall is expected to begin sometime this month, and based on the bid, Mitch Cox Construction proposed completing the job within 45 days. 

In other business, commissioners approved a recommendation from the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board to name the pavilion at Lions Park after Ralph D. Jones, who died in 2017. The pavilion was built last year. 

"(Jones) was an exceptional Lion and a blessing to those who knew him," Gayle Cox Jr., president of the Johnson City Lions Club, wrote in a letter to the commission. 

Cox said Jones was instrumental in procuring the location for Lions Park along Country Club Court Lane, and he also did much of the manual labor to construct the original Little League Baseball field.

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