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Funding West Walnut Street corridor project tops new Johnson City Commission's priorities

West Walnut Street corridor project

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -- Johnson City leaders see the West Walnut Street corridor project as a potential game-changer for downtown, with an estimated cost of between $7-10 million.

Vice Mayor Jenny Brock, who was re-elected to a second term on Tuesday, says approving funds for the massive infrastructure project will be an immediate priority of the newly aligned commission.

"The mill project is a home run," Brock told WCYB. "I think that project as it comes online will promote the redevelopment of Walnut Street sooner rather than later."

Brock says she's ready to lead the growing push for regionalism while remaining focused on Johnson City. She also expressed interest in serving as the city's mayor, since Mayor David Tomita did not seek re-election this year.

"You don't want a vanilla region. Each city, each county offers a unique set of assets," Brock said.

"We have our own here that we'll take care of and we'll continue to develop. We'll just kind of expand it to say okay, we're part of this bigger footprint."

Mountain States Credit Union CEO John Hunter is the fresh face on the Commission.

After serving on the Johnson City School board for the past five years, he sees an opportunity for regionalism through combined efforts between Johnson City and Washington County schools.

"With career technical, I think there are opportunities there to share resources and work together," Hunter said.

Hunter is on board with moving forward on the West Walnut Street corridor project as a way to continue downtown growth.

"I think it's a vital part of continuing the downtown revitalization which has been a positive component of making this a desirable area to live."

Brock anticipates funding for the project to be included in the city's 2019 budget.

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