Kingsport man enjoys just watching them work

Matthew Lane • Jun 10, 2018 at 2:30 PM

KINGSPORT — If you’re one of the hundreds of people who drive down Wilcox Drive on any given day, it’s hard to miss the construction taking place beside the Kingsport Aquatic Center.

But have you noticed a gentleman sitting in a chair on the sidewalk overlooking the construction site? If so, you probably asked yourself “What’s he doing? Is he with the city? Is he some kind of supervisor?”

Nope. His name is Joe Wolfe. He lives just up the road off Wilcox Drive and walks down to the construction site every couple or three days with his folding chair in hand.

And he just sits. About an hour or so at a time. Watching the work take place at the construction site.

“They call me the sidewalk superintendent. Everybody needs a title, I guess,” Wolfe said.

What’s taking place on the site is the construction of a new Eastman Credit Union customer service center. ECU announced last year it had purchased the 10-acre site adjacent to the YMCA and Kingsport Aquatic Center with plans to build a four-story building capable of housing 200 employees.

Earlier this year, construction began and today the building is really taking shape. Bulldozers, cranes and other pieces of heavy equipment are busy bringing the project to a reality, with ECU hoping work wraps up later this year.

Wolfe said he’s been coming to the site since work started. He’s an Eastman retiree who spent a few years living in California. He also used to have some of the equipment the construction company is using on site.

“I just enjoy being around it, and I never thought it would look like this,” Wolfe said. “It beats sitting around the house on the computer.”