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Sidewalk issue outside former theater to be fixed

Members of Jonesborough’s Tree and Townscape Board agreed to widen a sidewalk and prune a tree to relieve problems in front of area businesses.
Wesley Wilson, owner of the Old Jackson Theatre, asked members of the board at their May 30 meeting to consider a plan to improve the sidewalk in front of the property.
A tree planter located in front of the building, Wilson said, is making the sidewalk too narrow and unsafe for pedestrians, while the tree in the planter is blocking two business entrances.
“After the meeting, (board member) Bill Hunt and I went down there and looked the situation over,” said Jim Eldridge, board member. “He does have a problem. The No. 1 problem is that the sidewalk is too narrow and it’s a hazard for pedestrians.”
Eldridge agreed the tree blocked the businesses to some extent, too.
To fix the issues, Eldridge suggested making the sidewalk “two bricks wider” between the planter and the building, then pruning the tree to improve visibility.
“The problem is so easy to solve — simply cut the fork (in the tree) off. It’s that simple,” Eldridge said. “There’s nothing to it.”
While Wilson expressed a preference for the tree to be completely removed from the area, Eldridge said he worried that would “open a can of worms where everyone in town will want a tree removed.”
Wilson argued his situation was “unique.”
“I don’t think it would be a precedent for every other property owner to say, ‘Hey, take my tree out,’” Wilson said. “I don’t want to be controversial, but I’ve given a lot of study to it.”
At the June 27 meeting, the Tree and Townscape Board unanimously voted to approve Eldridge’s proposed plan.
“If there’s still a problem there, we can come back and make some adjustments,” Eldridge noted.