ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. - A steadier stream of pedestrians could soon be joining cars rolling into downtown Elizabethton.
"The planning commission has had a lot of conversations about how we can reinvigorate and get people interested and liven up downtown again," Planning and Development Director Jon Hartman said.
One idea to liven things up is to approve residential living downtown. In April, the planning commission voted to make adoptions to the zoning ordinances to allow it and now the plan is in the city council's hands. "When we get residential downtown and we get people living downtown it really can help the business atmosphere," Hartman said.
Businesses like The Coffee Company. "I think it brings the buildings back to life," said owner John Bunn.
Bunn tells us the addition of downtown apartments or condos should help his business percolate even more. "You know obviously for our situation it's more business for us," Bunn said. "The people who live here don't have to drive somewhere they can eat at the businesses that are restaurants downtown. They can shop downtown. They can enjoy the recreation."
Planning and development director Jon Hartman tells us that under the plan, the first floor of downtown buildings would always be reserved for retail, with residential living possible on the second floor or higher.
He says it's a trend that's really brewing. "A lot major cities today and even smaller communities such as Johnson City, Kingsport and Bristol, they're all moving towards this concept," Hartman said. "It provides that population base right in the middle of downtown helps create community makes the downtown a place to be."
"I think it's a great thing for our community," Bunn said.
If the city council approves the resolution on both readings, downtown Elizabethton could see residential living in place by this fall.