Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Jonesborough, county officials talk shop

In what they called a “relationship-building” meeting, Jonesborough and Washington County officials sat down together on Monday to discuss how the two entities can best work together in the future.
“Jonesborough wants very much to be a good partner with Washington County,” said Jonesborough Mayor Kelly Wolfe, who orchestrated the meeting. “We want to be a constructive partner and also be able to ask for your help when we have needs.”
Also present were Jonesborough aldermen Terry Countermine, Chuck Vest, Jerome Fitzgerald and Mary Gearhart; the three county commissioners who will represent Jonesborough on the commission, Joe Grandy, Gerald Sparks, and Mark Ferguson; Town Administrator Bob Browning, and County Mayor-elect Dan Eldridge.
Wolfe said Jonesborough is focused on improving three aspects of the town: the downtown courthouse, the Jonesborough Senior Center, and economic development in the area.
The courthouse just “sits here in the middle of town,” and Wolfe said efforts to improve its looks and functionality should be ongoing. The town plans on resubmitting a courthouse square revitalization bill, which failed by just one vote in the Tennessee State Senate’s past legislative session. Taxes from money spent inside the designated zone could come back to Jonesborough to make improvements to the area.
Officials also discussed the need for more space at the senior center, which has 1,200 members, 85 percent of which are county residents. While an expansion might be a gradual process, commissioners said they would do what they can to acquire funding from the county for the project.
About $110,000 from Jonesborough is tucked away in a savings account, designated to whatever will be done with the center, Browning said.
In economic development, officials discussed long-range planning, focusing on utilities and county growth.
Since the county does not provide sewer or water services, Grandy said it should be focused on integrating Jonesborough and Johnson City utilities.
Wolfe said Jonesborough and the county could explore ownership of a technology park along Boones Creek Road, within the town’s limits. Jonesborough can also provide sewer and water service to the county industrial park on 11-E, he said.
Browning emphasized the need for planning how utilities are spread throughout the county. “The county should have a vested interest” in where utilities are and where they are growing, he said. “We need to develop planned growth.”