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Johnson County looks to the future, approves five-year plan

Community Development Partners, LLC expert Bryan Hill presents aspects of the five-year plan to Johnson County Commissioners. Plans include possible land acquisition, new facilities, updates, and more. Photo by Meg Dickens.

By Meg Dickens
Staff Writer

Johnson County has been working on a five-year plan since October 2020 as part of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan Grant. Many people may not know that this plan is imperative to qualify for a long list of grants since around 2019. According to County Mayor Mike Taylor, it is “difficult if not impossible” to apply for many grants without this plan. Approving this was the first step in a long line of possible improvements and funding opportunities for the Johnson County community.

The five-year plan is a “living document” meant to change as new things come to light. Its chief purpose is to work as a list of priorities and guidelines for possible updates in the community. Officials worked with an outside group specializing in this task, at no cost to the county, to pinpoint the “greatest needs” and create visuals representing some of this work.

“Communities change, so plans change,” explained Community Development Partners, LLC expert Bryan Hill. “This just shows that the community has been
engaged, and we’ve evaluated your existing facilities and have a general idea of what you want in the future.”

Plans vary from general safety and accessibility updates to more ambitious changes like building a county sports complex or indoor recreational center. Officials reached out to the community for input through a survey and two separate public workshops. Specific projects, such as the Doe Mountain Recreation Area (DMRA) Adventure Center, are already underway.

Several of these plans could be a draw for tourism. One example revolves around expanded hiking and biking opportunities. The public survey showed that locals are interested in having more trails throughout the county. The county added possible land acquisition into the plan in case something of use becomes available. In connection, both the Master Plan and a few individuals have been working towards possible campgrounds in the area.

For those worried about where the money is coming from, be aware that nothing is “set in stone.” The county has not committed any funds to these projects yet. The plan operates more like a wishlist.

The Johnson County Commission meets on the third Thursday of each month at the Johnson County Courthouse. For more information on the Johnson County government, visit johnsoncountytn.gov.