Johnson City breaks ground on Legacy Plaza

Representatives from city government, major donors and members of the city’s Sesquicentennial Commission break ground on the Legacy Plaza, which will be constructed on the corner of King Commons in honor of Johnson City’s 150th anniversary. PHOTOS BY DAVE ONGIE
Johnson City commissioner Larry Calhoun makes his remarks during a ceremony prior to the groundbreaking. 
Bob Cantler, incoming president and CEO of the Johnson City/Washington County Chamber of Commerce, speaks during the ceremony.

By Dave Ongie, News Editor

Members of Johnson City’s Sesquicentennial Commission and fundraising committee gathered with major donors and members of the City Commission last Thursday afternoon to officially break ground on the first phase of the sesquicentennial legacy project.

The Legacy Plaza, which will include a history circle, is going to be installed in a corner of King Commons Park in honor of the 150th anniversary of Johnson City’s founding. The goal of the project is to give citizens of all ages a place to gather and reflect on the history of Johnson City.

“We wanted to celebrate our past while leaving behind something that will continue to inform future generations about our rich history,” said Donna Noland, chairwoman of the fundraising committee. “This project does that in a way that provides a gathering space for families to enjoy.”

The history circle design includes four concentric rings featuring 31 engraved blocks that include key dates and information about Johnson City’s history. A commissioned art piece selected by Johnson City’s Public Art Committee will be placed at the center of the rings.

The sesquicentennial time capsule will also be buried beneath the plaza. Completion of the project is set for Dec. 1, the date Johnson City received its charter from the state. The sesquicentennial will commence on that day, with a public celebration and time capsule burial set to take place.

“We are celebrating the 150th anniversary of our founding throughout this year,” Johnson City Mayor Jenny Brock said. “Once these celebrations are behind us, this Legacy Plaza will remain a visible reminder of this milestone and be yet another draw to our downtown.”

During his remarks, Johnson City Commissioner Larry Calhoun said another groundbreaking will take place in the near future when work begins on the natural adventure area that will compliment the Legacy Plaza. The second part of the Sesquicentennial Commission’s legacy project, which will be located just across King Street, will include playground features made out of natural materials and suited for people of all ages.

For more information on the legacy project or the yearlong sesquicentennial celebration, visit


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