Leaders from Washington County, Johnson City provide update on economic status of community

There was a large gathering of business and government leaders Thursday for a luncheon and status report on all three local governments in Washington County, Tennessee.

The Chamber of Commerce’s 5th annual State of the City, County and Town was held at the Millennium Center in Johnson City with reports from Mayor’s Brock, Grandy and Vest.

All agreed that things were going well, but there is always room for improvement.

“We have so many attributes here in Johnson City and in our region. We need to leverage those more to help promote growth. We’re at less than 1.5 percent growth those numbers are questionable, but we need 3 to 5% growth,” Johnson City Mayor Jenny Brock said, “So everything that we’re doing, we need to use everything that we have, we can’t leave any stone unturned that we can use to our advantage to help promote growth at a very smart level.”

“Right now we’re going through a little economic boom, I think, in Jonesborough.  We’ve got a downtown we’ve been working on forever and I think we are finally seeing a lot of vibrancy downtown, so we’re excited about that,”, Jonesborough Mayor Chuck Vest said, “If you haven’t been there, it is a very vibrant downtown now with a lot of great shops, a lot of good restaurants and having events going on almost every weekend, just a great place to visit.”

“As you know, we have our challenges, particularly on the economic side.  We have a declining population across the region and we’re working really hard to focus on some regional perspectives that will help change that trend,”, Washington Co. Mayor Joe Grandy said, “What we know is that we have an out-migration of our 18 to 40 year olds and what we’re trying to do is understand what is driving that and how we can keep some of those people here, locally, that are critical to the development of our workforce.”

Washington County has been the hot topic of economic development lately. 

Lawmakers are working to build a Pinnacle-style development in the Boones Creek area. Development is also slated for some downtown businesses in the coming months.

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