Breezeway in downtown Johnson City remains closed, poses potential danger to public

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For months now a popular pedestrian breezeway in downtown Johnson city has been closed. city leaders are now saying it could be dangerous. The breezeway connects  the downtown square parking lot to East Main street. About a year ago, work to renovate the pedestrian walkway began with the removal of concrete slabs. 

Now, renovation efforts have stalled and the breezeway is shut down. City leaders say the area is dangerous because of a wall that could fall.

Sandra Garrett t frequents downtown and is anxious to see repairs made and the breezeway re-open. 

“Get it fixed because the breezeway is a really nice connection from the parking lot to the rest of the shops down here and also from that end it just looks derelict,” Garrett said. 

City leaders say closing this breezeway is a matter of public safety, going so far as to put up a gate to keep people out and.also a sign letting the public know that going past the gate could potentially be a crime. 

“We closed the breezeway as a matter of public safety there is an imminent danger there that part of that wall could fall, so we have closed it off to make sure no one got hurt,” Pete Peterson said. 

City manager Pete Peterson says t appears water may have leaked through that wall causing it to **jut**out…he says closing the passageway was the best way to insure people remain safe. 

“We want to make sure that people stay out of there, that they don’t use that as a place to hide or they don’t use that as a cut through between the parking lot and downtown until we get that wall repaired,” Peterson said. 

City leaders currently have about  $200,000 for the project in the upcoming city budget. Meanwhile plans to renovate the area are on hold until the breezeway can be fixed.

For Sandra Garrett that fix to the shortcut can’t come soon enough. 

“With the amount of change that has gone on downtown with founders park and all of the refurbishing down here, it detracts from everything that they have done and i just want to see it fixed,” Garrett said. 

Already city engineers are working on a fix for this problem. It is not clear just yet on when work will begin. City leaders do continue to advise the public to avoid this area and to adhere to all warnings. 

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