A road project aimed at easing congestion on Knob Creek Road in Johnson City has a local realtor questioning the city’s move to demolish several buildings along the road.
“Being a realtor, it just really got a raw nerve in there,” said Bill Hawk, who works with ReMax in Johnson City.
The city is currently in the process of buying up property to help construct a thoroughfare from Boones Creek Road to State of Franklin.
Recently, the city demolished two houses in the Mizpah Hills subdivision.
Hawk said he had expressed interest in buying the homes last year to the city’s public works director, but when he went to check out the homes again this past week, he found the homes demolished.
“I’m like, ‘What? You’re tearing down a $350-450,000 home?” he said.
Hawk owns around 12 acres of land just up the street.
“I would have moved the houses there and put them in productive service,” he said. “I would have remodeled them and fixed them up and probably sold them.”
Hawk said the move to demolish the buildings was, “irresponsible.”
“We received multiple communications from the subdivision asking us to do something with those structures,” said City Manager, Pete Peterson.
Peterson said the call for demolition came after neighbors told city leaders about the deterioration of the vacant homes.
“Some people had gone by and illegally taken external HVAC equipment,” he said, “they had taken fencing from around pools, some of the shrubbery had been dug up.”
Peterson said any chance for moving the structures would have taken a process of three to four months, but admits it has been a learning process for the city.
“Going forward we need to get engaged a little quicker in terms of final disposition of properties like this,” he said. “If we can get an interest in them and someone wants to reuse these properties in the future, then we’ll certainly ensure that that happens.”
Hawk said he plans to be at city meetings going forward to help make sure this does not happen again.
Peterson said they plan to slow down the road construction process to allow people to place a bid on the one remaining home on the corner of Mizpah Hills.