Bidding adieu…Hartman informs city leaders, team of resignation

Published 9:28 am Friday, February 28, 2020

The last two days have been hard for Jon Hartman, the City of Elizabethton Planning and Economic Development Director, as Hartman has been spending that time informing city leaders and his team of his impending resignation which will come sometime in the late May to June timeframe of this year.

Hartman has been on the job for the last eight years having served under three city managers in that timeframe. He has come to love Elizabethton as a second home since taking on his current position.

“My husband got a really good job promotion and so he is going to be moving to Durham, North Carolina next week and has resigned from his boards and I will be following him later this year,” Hartman explained about his decision. “It will be around June or possibly at the end of May 2020.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Before he leaves there is still work to be done for Hartman and a couple of projects that he definitely would like to see completed before he leaves his position.

“Right now getting our grant finished up to improve the crossings for the Tweetsie Trail is a big thing and of course we have a few developments like the hotel development that we are trying to get wrapped up,” Hartman said.

“We are also working with the county a little to help them get financing mechanisms for their resort there so we are trying to get that resolved also. Those are the big things right now. It’s still early right now so I have about three or four months.”

Under Hartman’s watch there have been several improvements made in Elizabethton and several more that have been started that should carry on into the future for the city.

“There has been a lot completed actually. When I first started here, the Medical Care building was under renovation. We had two huge buildings that were across the street from WalMart vacant in North American Rayon,” Hartman said.

“Downtown was coming along but nowhere near the consensus and movement that we are seeing now. I would say getting those two buildings by Bemberg torn down and getting the redevelopment district established were big things.

“I think that they will play out,” Hartman continued. “We are not seeing a lot of movement right now on them other than the hotel project but those will be in place for the next 20 years for Elizabethton. I think for the future of Elizabethton that will be pivotal in having that in place.”

Hartman was asked to reflect back to when he first arrived on the job as the Planning and Economic Development Director here in Elizabethton and compare how he felt coming in to where he believes that the city has come in the last eight years.

“A lot of the work we are doing downtown — I remember coming in and one of the things I’m thinking was that we were really going to tackle downtown,” stated Hartman.

“I thought we are really going to help it shine so we modified a lot of its policies and our approvals and procedures and worked with the City Council like in changing the ordinance for the Pub bars, working with developers and recruiting developers to come like the two renovation buildings that are being renovated right now.”

Another project that put a smile on Hartman’s face came when talking about the Main Street program downtown. Hartman has invested about a year to a year and a half to get the program off the ground.

He went on to say about the project that it was great to see that Main Street was coming to fruition and starting to take feet. Hartman was also pleased to be vested in the recruitment of Cook Out as well as assisting with the recruitment of Dairy Queen.

Hartman is definitely leaving the city in a good position but was asked what his advice to the new Planning and Economic Development Director would encompass.

“Be patient — nothing happens fast here but for good reason,” Hartman remarked. “People want to make sure and that they are confident in what they do. It’s okay to have a vision and it’s okay to see the future but be patient and just stick with it.

“When I first started downtown alone I was like I can do this — it’s not going to be that hard. Other towns are doing this so again it’s not going to be that hard.

“I was a lot younger then and a lot newer to the profession so going into it with that youth optimism was like it’s not going to take that long. Here we are and we are just now starting to get things knocked out.”

As he prepares to wrap up his final stay in Elizabethton, Hartman was asked what he would remember most about his tenure and working with the city.

“I came into this community with a thought to improve it and help the people here, help the community here, and I hope that as I leave that people will be able to say that he left this place better than he found it,” Hartman commented.

“Daniel is my third city manager that I have worked under with each one having their own positives and negatives. The staff here has been great. I am not originally from here but the community in general just welcomed me and made me feel welcomed.

“I definitely think that Elizabethton has left an impression on me, it has become my second home town.”

Hartman is a native of Northern Ohio hailing from Mount Pillar.