Eliminating A Downtown Eyesore


By Amy Fox
By Randy Livingston

JOHNSTON CITY -- Neighbors have been complaining about a building for several years now. But, city leaders in Johnston City say they don't have the money for demolition. Now, there may be another solution.

Situated on Broadway in downtown Johnston City, there's a building that's been vacant for years. Now, all that's left is broken glass and rotted wood.

For 25 years, Paul Lawrence has worked next door. "Everyone on this block would love to see it gone," said Lawrence." But, each year, the condition of his neighbor gets worse and worse.

Lawrence said, "I worry about some kid getting in there, getting hurt, or killed. Part of the building has a basement in it that I'm sure is filled with water after all these years with the roof being open."

Just across the street, Cheri Litton has a similar perspective

"From the looks of it, the structure and all, it's past being repaired and I would say it needs to come down pretty quick," said Litton.

But, Johnston City officials say it's going to take time before they can demolish the building.

"It's going to run $30­,000-$35,000. And, we don't have the money to do that," said Johnston City Mayor Jim Mitchell.

Documents from the Williamson County Treasurer show the abandoned property is owned by Simon King of Thompsonville. But, King recently told the mayor the property's been sold to an investor in Florida, raising hopes of bringing the building back to life.

Mitchell said, "We've already got an investor looking to come in there to tear it down basically and re-­build inside the building. He would keep the sidewalls of the front facade and re-­do them and have a good big business [in] there."

"We've got something we can work with, we can make it beautiful," said Mitchell.

But, near-by businesses say for now, things are only getting worse.

Lawrence said, "A few months ago, I had ServPro come in and they set air handlers in my building. We had such a stench in there that I was afraid for my health and for the two staff members I had."

"This building's going to go whether they tear it down or it falls down," said Litton.

Johnston City is only in the initial planning process. Nothing is set in stone. Mayor Mitchell hopes to work closely with the new investor to develop a concrete plan for the future of the building.

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