City cuts ribbon on renovated plaza

Morristown Mayor Gary Chesney cuts the ribbon on the newly renovated City Center with the help of council members Tommy Pedigo, left, and Kay Senter, right.

As a light rain fell Friday afternoon, city officials gathered on the Morristown City Center for a coronavirus-delayed dedication of the plaza, a project initiated to prevent torrential rains from undermining the City Center foundation.

The project began last summer to prevent water leaking from the plaza into the downtown garage. An engineering study indicated that the flow had not damaged the foundation. Morristown City Council members selected the current configuration from proposals submitted by Design Innovation Architects.

Merritt Construction Co. has nearly completed the work. The final cost will be about $2.6 million, according to Assistant City Administrator Larry Clark.

Morristown Mayor Gary Chesney used Friday’s plaza-dedication ceremony, which coincided with Juneteenth – a holiday that commemorates the 1865 emancipation of slaves in Texas, two-and-a-half years following the Emancipation Proclamation – to call for reflection.

“This day is probably an appropriate one to kick off a new image to the highly visible showpiece of our City Center at the exact historical crossroads of our city,” Chesney said. “Our country is at a crossroads, of sorts. Today is the day we commemorate the formal day of correcting a great wrong in race relations back in 1985.

“The fact improvements are still needed is causing all communities to reevaluate,” Chesney added. We are evaluating how we express ourselves when pushing for change. We are also evaluating how we stay healthy in the face of a deadly pandemic, the likes of which our country has never before experienced.

Before the renovations began, water damaged the plaza-level City Center doors. The doors are being built, and will be installed as soon as they are finished. The control panel for the irrigation system must also be replaced. An electrical surge likely caused by a lightning strike completely destroyed he control panel, according to the assistant city administrator.

Chesney invited Morristown and Hamblen County motorists to reflect about change when stopped at the traffic signals at the intersection of Cumberland and West First North streets.

“As yourself, ‘Who are we? Who are you, and what is your place in enhancing our city of Morristown?’” the mayor asked. “Three flags will fly at our City Center. One represents the city of Morristown … the second the state of Tennessee … and of course our flag of the United States of America.”

As a light rain fell Friday afternoon, city officials gathered on the Morristown City Center for a coronavirus-delayed dedication of the plaza, a project initiated to prevent torrential rains from undermining the City Center foundation.

The project began last summer to prevent water leaking from the plaza into the downtown garage. An engineering study indicated that the flow had not damaged the foundation. Morristown City Council members selected the current configuration from proposals submitted by Lose Design.

Merritt Construction Co. has nearly completed the work. The final cost will be about $2.6 million, according to Assistant City Administrator Larry Clark.

Morristown Mayor Gary Chesney used Friday’s plaza-dedication ceremony, which coincided with Juneteenth – a holiday that commemorates the 1865 emancipation of slaves in Texas, two-and-a-half years following the Emancipation Proclamation – to call for reflection.

“This day is probably an appropriate one to kick off a new image to the highly visible showpiece of our City Center at the exact historical crossroads of our city,” Chesney said. “Our country is at a crossroads, of sorts. Today is the day we commemorate the formal day of correcting a great wrong in race relations back in 1985.

“The fact improvements are still needed is causing all communities to reevaluate,” Chesney added. We are evaluating how we express ourselves when pushing for change. We are also evaluating how we stay healthy in the face of a deadly pandemic, the likes of which our country has never before experienced.

Chesney invited Morristown and Hamblen County motorists to reflect about change when stopped at the traffic signals at the intersection of Cumberland and West First North streets.

“Ask yourself, ‘Who are we? Who are you, and what is your place in enhancing our city of Morristown?’” the mayor asked. “Three flags will fly at our City Center. One represents the city of Morristown … the second the state of Tennessee … and of course our flag of the United States of America.”