Johnson City Celebrates 150 Years

January 21, 2020

Congratulations to Johnson City, Tennessee on its 150th anniversary!  The city kicked off its year of special commemorative events last January with the revealing of the 1969 time capsule and finished up in December with a community celebration in King Commons Park and the sealing of a new time capsule.

Johnson City has an estimated population of 66,778 and covers a land area of almost 43 square miles.  Incorporated on December 1, 1869, the city’s history is inextricably tied to roads and transportation.  Henry Johnson, for whom the city is named, established his store where the stage road met the path of the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad.  Another railroad, the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina, hauled iron ore out of the mountains, helping establish Johnson City as the “Pittsburgh of the South”.  Today’s Tweetsie Trail, used for biking, running, and walking, is a rails-to-trails project that traverses 10 miles of the former railroad right-of-way.  There are several major thoroughfares running through the city – I-26, US Highways 11E and 32, and TN Hwy. 36 – making it the “gateway to Appalachia.”

Regional Pump Station
Johnson City, Tenn.

In addition to the development of new modes of transportation, there have been other notable changes.  In a story on the city’s website, the city manager and assistant city manager reflected on how advancements in technology have impacted city services. One example is that it is now much easier for the city to keep track of the sewer lines.  Another is that of how surveying is conducted — survey crews used to be composed of three or four people but now one employee with the proper equipment can take care of the task.  Other changes have come from federal stormwater regulations.  For example, the state now requires subdivisions to retain stormwater onsite and release it at the same rate as the land did pre-development.

LDA Engineering’s Steve Bostic started his engineering career with Johnson City, first as a Staff Engineer and then as the Assistant Director of the Water and Sewer Department.  After moving into a consultant role at LDA, Bostic worked on a number of significant projects for the City including the expansive Sewer System Upgrades Project.  On that project, LDA provided planning, design, permitting, bidding, and construction engineering services for gravity sewer interceptors, force mains, and four sewage pumping stations in the Johnson City Regional Sewer Collection System. The pumping stations, force mains, and a portion of the gravity sewers were designed to replace aged facilities within the City’s existing collection system. In addition, the service area was experiencing rapid growth, which was expected to continue. Due to that, one of the gravity interceptor lines was designed to provide capacity for future development. The project was also impacted by a major highway construction project which had to be addressed to avoid adverse impacts to the interceptor sewers and force mains.

Founders Park, Johnson City, Tenn.

Boone Street Culvert Extension
Johnson City, Tenn.

Another project on which LDA partnered with the City was Founders Park. This award-winning project was an exciting first step in Johnson City’s economic revitalization and stormwater improvement Master Plan for the City’s downtown historic district.  LDA’s role included coordination with city staff, commission, and action groups; planning and alternatives analysis; watershed and drainage infrastructure modeling; surveying; permitting; and contract administration.  Additional projects include the Boone Street Culvert and Sidewalks, King Commons, and the Tannery Knob Water Storage Tank.

LDA’s mission is to support our clients in developing stronger, happier communities and we wish the Johnson City community the very best as it looks to the future!