JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL)- Three years after the formation of a task force, plans to transform West Walnut Street in downtown Johnson City made their debut in a public hearing.

Community members had the chance to see the plans and express their thoughts and concerns to city leaders and LDA engineering over the project.

One of the main concerns- traffic flow and congestion that could impact the nearby “Tree Streets” neighborhood.

“People who are trying to quickly get from one end to the other are not going to go down this beautiful rendition, they are going to go down our street,” said Rob Martindale during public comment.

He and his wife have lived on neighboring Maple Street for more than two decades.

“The West Walnut Expansion is a great idea, the bicycle trail up to the Tweetsie Trail… I think that’s a great idea. But, I really think traffic going down a residential road to avoid the traffic stop, it’s going to get so congested,” said Maple Street homeowner, Eric Fisher.

He is also concerned that people will speed down the street where his children play.

On the other hand, businesses in the area think this is a new start for the city.

Tom Seaton owns Firehouse restaurant that has been on W Walnut for 40 years. He says a similar effort failed about 25 years ago.

“I don’t think that area was ready for this kind of development as it is now and the public support that we see now,” said Seaton. “It’s just the perfect timing for that to happen in our area.

Public Works Director Phil Pindzola says the estimated 25 million dollar project is meant to continue downtown revitalization and connect the area to East Tennessee State University. As well as make Johnson City a destination to attract more people.

“There’s a lot of different aspects to the project, we have obviously the streetscape design, what we are going to do with stormwater, traffic control,” said Pindzola. “We have some pedestrian features that people might be interested in.”

That plan is already working – bringing new businesses like Peggy Ann’s Bakery to Johnson City in anticipation for the project.

“We chose West Walnut Street for what the city was looking at doing with it, we got in a little bit early,” said Peggy Ann’s Johnson City owner, Will Martin. “The plan they revealed tonight is only going to be great for us, great for West Walnut Street and I think to increase overall satisfaction for the city.”

The plans are expected to take about six months to finalize and two years to construct and complete.