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The latest news on the Hog Wild Saloon

Matthew Lane • Jan 1, 2019 at 9:00 AM

KINGSPORT — By the middle of January, Engage Tri-Cities plans to have better estimates on what it will cost to repair and bring the Hog Wild Saloon up to code.

Then, the nonprofit organization plans to sit down again with city officials to talk about the plan to remodel the building into a job resource center for the homeless and low-income families in our region.

This came out of a recent meeting between officials with Engage Tri-Cities and the city of Kingsport.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The Hog Wild Saloon has been closed since March after a deadly shooting took place inside and city officials found the building to be suffering from numerous code and safety violations. Kingsport ordered the building be demolished, and eventually the matter made its way to a Sullivan County courtroom, where a judge upheld the decision to tear down the saloon.

During all of this, the ownership of the building changed hands from furniture store magnate Paul Bellamy to Engage Tri-Cities, a nonprofit organization founded by Johnathon and Carla Anderson two years ago to help churches and businesses connect with the communities around them.

Kingsport estimates the Hog Wild Saloon is only worth $180,000 in its current condition and that at least $235,000 would be needed to bring it up to code and fit for public use. It needs a new roof, interior improvements and electrical upgrades and possibly more.

Anderson’s ball park number for the repairs is around $150,000, which includes in-kind donations.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

Anderson met with Kingsport building and planning officials on Dec. 20 to talk about what needed to be done before the city would sign off on a plan to bring the building up to code.

“They were giving us a list of things that would have to happen, new plumbing, new electrical and everything else to bring it up to the 2018 codes, which is something we anticipated,” Anderson said. “They want us to have an update around the middle of January with estimates, even for things that are going to be donated, and then once we have a timeline we can agree on, hopefully we’ll have the green light to begin working on the property.”

A new survey of the property and an asbestos check took place last week. Other preliminary work is also happening behind the scenes. Anderson said he wants all of that to wrap up before his next meeting with city officials.

From a structural standpoint, Anderson said his engineers and architects have said the building is worth saving. If it was a 50/50 chance, then Anderson said he would definitely focus more on the demolition of the building.

“Since we were told it’s worth saving, that’s the direction we’re going to move as long as the city continues to work with us,” Anderson said. “We’re definitely happy to be working with them.”

To date, Engage Tri-Cities has raised $27,000 toward the project and was hoping to have “a little more” by Dec. 31.

“We know this is going to be a big undertaking, and we’re well aware of that, but the community has been fantastic,” Anderson said. “Folks have either volunteered with us in the past, we’ve got new donors, local churches and some businesses have come on board.”

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