By SERINA MARSHALL
Change is coming to the region in 2022. According to area officials, not only will current projects continue, but the new year also brings new projects.
One change that began back in November was the groundbreaking for a new $42.75 million K-8 school in Jonesborough.
“It took many meetings, hundreds of calls, determination by many but breaking ground on our new K-8 school is without doubt 2021 best accomplishment,” Jonesborough Mayor Chuck Vest said. “It will positively impact our community for decades to come.”
Washington County Superintendent Jerry Boyd agreed, also acknowledging the school system’s focus for the upcoming year.
“For Washington County Schools, 2022 should be viewed as the year to accelerate toward growth and innovation of our practices, programs, and services through hard work, strong
partnerships, and clarity of purpose that will ensure that all students build the habits of mind and character that will enable them to excel as productive citizens in our society,” Boyd said. “To be successful in 2022 and beyond, our efforts will be building and sustaining a culture of teamwork persistently focused on our top priority every day…our students.”
Washington County Mayor Joe Grandy explained that the county is also working toward education opportunities with the initiative of the former Boones Creek Elementary School site becoming a high school middle college where Juniors and Seniors can join programs that help them learn a skill to use following high school.
“They will receive a diploma and work-ready certificate to hit the job market in construction trades and heavy equipment operation,” Grandy said. “This way they are ready to join the workforce out of high school if they so choose.”
Together, both Washington County and the Town of Jonesborough also achieved a significant and historical accomplishment that occurred in 2021.
The Interlocal Agreement was approved between The Town of Jonesborough and Washington County to start the Jonesborough Water Line Extension project within agreed upon areas of the unincorporated areas of the County.
Grandy is especially proud of the accomplishments that have gone on behind the scenes between the county and the Town of Jonesborough during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There has been that development and creation of a water line installation crew for the county in coordination with the Town of Jonesborough.
In just the first 30 days of coming on to the project, the seven-member crew started and finished 2800 feet of new water line serving customers in the Treadway Trail area of Telford,” Grandy said.
“The concept was developed, created, funded and completed all by the end of the year. We have a great relationship with the Town of Jonesborough and have accomplished a lot together.”
Vest agreed, adding, “The expansion and upgrade of water treatment in the town is needed,” he said. “With the growth we are experiencing we must ensure our infrastructure meets our standards.”
In addition to the continuation of the water project, Jonesborough Town Administrator Glenn Rosenoff said the town is also planning to close the curtain on a few historic venue renovations, proving that the show does go on.
“Historic Main Street underwent its fair share of renovations in 2021 with the completion of the exterior renovations of the Jackson Theatre, including the brilliant theatre marquee that signals residents and visitors that something special is coming their way…Coming Soon 2022,” he said. “Another major renovation downtown was the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre (JRT) that underwent extensive remodeling to interior and exterior of the building. JRT is in full theatrical swing and their home, the theatre, will continue to entertain for years to come.”
Another project on the downtown Jonesborough list for 2022 is the construction of sidewalks along East Main Street, the completion of Lincoln Park behind the Senior Center, the creation of a system of short to long-term road improvement initiatives and budgetary estimations on major infrastructure improvements.
In addition to the physical projects, the town will launch two major programs in early 2022 to help downtown business.
One project will offer a financial opportunity for small business owners, property owners or investors to purchase or renovate a downtown property or to purchase fixed equipment for the direct purpose of business creation, expansion or renovation, while another is expected to launch near the same time.
The Downtown Jonesborough Façade and Architectural Improvement Grant Program for Businesses is a local Grant Program providing incentives to improve the facades of commercial buildings in an area within the Downtown District in Jonesborough.
**In the January 5th edition of this story, it was stated that 28 ft of new water line had been laid, it was actually 2800. The article has been updated to reflect this change**