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JCDA's statement on future of John Sevier Center after key vote fails

JOHNSON CITY, Tn (WJHL) - A key vote to fund the purchase and renovation of a downtown Johnson City landmark failed Monday night.

Many are now asking what does does this mean for the future of the John Sevier Center, a towering old hotel that's been low-income housing for years.

A tie vote by Washington County, Tennessee commissioners stopped key funding support for the John Sevier Center proposal moving forward.

Last year, the Johnson City Development Authoritiy announced a plan to buy and transform the building in a retail and residential space.

JCDA's Dianna Cantler said in a release today:

"In response to the tied vote at Monday nights Washington County Commission meeting on the Resolution to approve an Amendment to the Redevelopment and Urban Renewal Plan for the Downtown Redevelopment District, the Johnson City Development Authority will meet next week to determine further action towards continuing the process.

We appreciate the partnership we have had with Washington County over the past 10 years, to use tax increment financing to further our redevelopment of the downtown district. Our hope is this commitment to our city’s core, which plays a major part in not only historic revitalization, but workforce development and talent attraction, continues.

The John Sevier Center is more than an economic development project, the residents of that facility deserve housing that can meet standards that are set by the Housing and Urban Development Department. The process is multifaceted and is a multi year commitment on the JCDA’s behalf. The JCDA’s goal in this has always been two fold – to ensure that the residents of the building have better housing and for an important building in our City’s history to be restored to its full potential.

The JCDA maintains their commitment to this project."

"Last night we voted on a statute that would increase the counties portion of TIF revenue by a minimum of 20-thousand dollars annually, and the seven commissioners that voted no, voted not to get that increase, that money will go to the JCDA now," said Washington County Commissioner Jodi Jones.

Tuesday, she wanted people to understand that TIF projects do not use existing tax payer dollars and instead invest new taxes into an area of development. 

Jones was one of the commissioners who voted in favor of the project and says she's disappointed in the outcome of the vote. 


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