JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A new advisory committee hopes to provide Johnson City with recommendations and strategies to handle its growth over the next two decades.
The committee is part of Johnson City’s Horizon 2045 growth management plan. Its members are set for their first meeting Monday night.
T.R. Dunn, a co-founder of youth group 4Thirteen, said he is excited to be a part of the process. He said he is confident the group, comprised of community leaders, elected officials and city board members can come up with good ideas for Johnson City.
“I think it’s going to be a huge undertaking, so people can see there’s going to be growth and we do have a future in Johnson City,” Dunn said.
Whitney Hodges, a Johnson City planning consultant, said Horizon 2045 will be a comprehensive plan including everything from housing and economic development to education and parks and recreation.
“It will include how we get from where we are to where we want to be,” Hodges said. “I think that’s really important, and how one decision impacts other things.”
Hodges said it has been over 15 years since the city last created a long-term plan like this.
A bridge plan was made in 2020, but the creation of a new long-term plan was delayed because of the pandemic and the wait for updated census data.
Hodges said it will be vital for them to have community involvement in the creation of the plan.
“The big process win is really that the community is heard in a way that translates into policies and strategies for growth that our government leaders can take action upon,” Hodges said.
She said community engagement events are in the works.
Additionally, she said the city will be launching a portal for residents to submit what’s working and what needs improvement.
Around Johnson City, growth has already arrived. Dunn said if the plan is done right, the city will be able to sustain it.
“How can we grow this city?” Dunn said. “How can we make this city a community city, to where people, when they come in they’re like, ‘This is the place I need to be’.”
The plan will also cover areas beyond the city limits. The area in Gray is Johnson City’s Urban Growth Boundary, which will also be considered in the plan.
Hodges said in addition to the wide-ranging scope, city planners must consider how each element works with another, including in economic development.
“Looking at who are our employers, what do we need [in order] to attract the next generation of employers?” Hodges said. “We’re already looking at a lot of that stuff, but tying that to some of the land use decisions that we’re making or some of the transportation decisions that we’re making.”
Dunn said the diverse background of the advisory committee members gives the city an advantage.
“People look at us and go, ‘If they can do it together and they’re showing uniformity, then I want to be a part of this city. I want to be a part of this group’,” Dunn said. “I love the intentionality of it and the expertise of what’s going to happen tonight in bringing everyone together.”
Dunn said he is not sure how long the process will take.