Freedom Hall in need of an extreme makeover


There is a new plan that may give Freedom Hall Civic Center in Johnson City an extreme multimillion dollar makeover.

The Johnson City Commission is looking at a $12-million renovation for Freedom Hall.

The building has been around for 40 years, and city leaders say it's in need of upgrades.

Freedom Hall has been the home for many events over the years, and now is the home court for the ETSU Bucs basketball.

But now the building needs repairs, and city leaders are looking at ways to fix it.

"The H-V-A-C need replacing, that's about 6 million dollars,” said Commissioner David Tomita. “There’s a parking lot upgrade, and some bathroom upgrades...”

Tomita says all together, the renovation will cost $12-million, and many are asking where the money will come from.

"We’re not going to have to add or subtract anything from current services,” said Tomita. “We don't have to touch the property tax rate to do it.”

Tomita says the city will have to borrow a lot of the needed funds, and the money will not necessarily just be used on Freedom Hall. 

"I’m willing to look at other capital projects,” said Tomita.  “Police equipment, fire equipment… that could be included in this borrowing as long as it falls within the parameters."

In the long run, city leaders say improving Freedom Hall will benefit the entire region.   

"We’ve got to take care of it,” said Tomita. “It’s a valuable asset that we have and we can’t let it fall apart.”

The Johnson City commission will meet next Tuesday to discuss the budget, which must be approved by July 1st.

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