Johnson City Plans to Renovate Civic Center

Freedom Hall in Johnson City TNJohnson City, Tn. – We’ve all seen the various media reports now. Johnson City is FINALLY looking to invest in major renovations for the venerable Freedom Hall Civic Center. The venue has seen some fantastic shows over the years, Elvis, Elton John, Jerry Lee Lewis, AC/DC, and even the 16 time world heavyweight champion Ric Flair has graced the halls of the once proud venue. But years of neglect have taken a toll on the place. Cracked walls, plumbing, HVAC, and old, worn out seats are just some of the issues facing the building opened in the 1970’s. Since that initial night, very little has been done to update Freedom Hall. This past week, the city has made clear its’ goal of allocating 12 million dollars to give it a facelift. Bucs fans should be ecstatic this is happening. Now I’m the first to say even with the renovations, Freedom Hall is a bandage for a much larger issue (a new arena), but we’ll get to that another day. What is it you would like to see that would make Freedom Hall better, not just for basketball and entertainment, but for fans and patrons of the venue? For me it all starts with tickets, traffic, and toilet paper. The bathrooms there are terrible. Anytime I’ve been in the facility with more than 3000 people, there’s standing water in the men’s bathrooms. Traffic and tickets are always a nightmare. Part of traffic is people simply can’t drive, but a huge part is parking over there really isn’t all that great. Getting into the place is also inconvenient. There never seems to be enough people working the doors to get people in, so you have to get in obscenely early to ensure you don’t miss the start of anything. Next comes the seats. The seats have NEVER been replaced in Freedom Hall. Now for those of you who remember Willie Nelson, Lynard Skynard, and some of the shows of the 70’s and 80’s, think long and hard about what’s been on those seats over the years.

It’s long overdue, and with the right leadership running Freedom Hall, it could attract better entertainment that would provide a nice boost in the local and regional economy. But in the process, let’s hope the city is in a silent, pre planning phase for a long term solution that involves a new, downtown arena and convention center that can attract the truly big names of the music and entertainment industry.

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ETSU Basketball considering move to Freedom Hall

Freedom Hall in Johnson City TN
Freedom Hall
Freedom Hall in Johnson City TN

According to a report from WCYB, ETSU is considering moving basketball games to Freedom Hall for the upcoming season and possibly even permanently. While Freedom Hall only sits about 6,500 for basketball and is a couple of miles of campus it is specifically designed for basketball, unlike the Dome, and could make for a better basketball atmosphere as well. Obviously, Freedom Hall will need to undergo some major renovations if this is going to happen. The only way I can see it working is if the renovations include transforming Freedom Hall to be branded as an ETSU facility and moving the scoreboard, the new lighting rig, banners and etc to Freedom Hall as well.

Of course the major concern with this possible move is the fact that Freedom Hall is about 2 miles from campus. Student attendance is already suffering, would it suffer more if the basketball arena is off campus? I think a possible solution could be a shuttle service for students that did not feel like making the short trip.

What is your opinion on a possible move to Freedom Hall for all basketball games? Please see the poll on the right side of the page to cast your vote.

See the full video and report from WCYB

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