JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Starting the first week of July, improvements are coming to a heavily traveled part of Johnson City.
City leaders say the main stretch of North Roan Street between Mockingbird Lane and Oakland Avenue needs a facelift. This includes most of the area around the Mall at Johnson City down to Mellow Mushroom.
“One of the ways to attract growth and business community is to simply make the environment feel better,” said Phil Pindzola, public works director for the city.
New landscaping, improved sidewalks, even artwork are all coming to the corridor.
“We have a lot of hotels and restaurants so we are trying to accommodate the foot traffic between the two,” said Pindzola.
The main idea is to improve pedestrian access in north Johnson City, making it more walkable. Sidewalks will be added in areas where they do not exist now and will connect to side streets off of North Roan.
City leaders also say landscaping the corridor by adding things like flowers and shrubbery will make it more desirable.
The improvements should give local businesses a boost, but it is meant to make things more convenient and attractive for patrons.
“This is more or less for the community as a whole to enjoy as it exists today, and that it encourages further economic development,” said Pindzola.
The city also approved a special series of murals. Four paintings will adorn the walls underneath the I-26 overpass on Roan Street. A Boston artist has been commissioned to capture the essence of our region and our outdoor recreation.
“The idea is to represent the ‘Go all out’ theme the city has adopted from an artistic viewpoint,” said Pindzola.
From the millions of dollars going to redeveloping West Walnut Street near East Tennessee State University, to current construction on East Market Street downtown, now to North Roan Street, city leasers say focusing on revitalizing these areas will make for a stronger future.
“By upgrading the aesthetics we are addressing the same concerns that we had downtown with the streetscape program, now we are moving to North Johnson City and upgrading that streetscape as well,” said Pindzola.
Work is set to begin the first week of July on North Roan Street and is expected to wrap up by the end of 2021. City leaders do not anticipate a traffic impact.