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Sunday, May 15, 2005

Kingsport's Scott Adams Memorial Skate Park (architectural rendering)

Location: W Center St at Lynn Garden Dr (along the Kingsport Greenbelt)
Photo source: The Moore Group Architects-Planners, 214 Commerce St, Ste 102
Story source: Kingsport Times-News, April 28, 2005

KINGSPORT - The Scott Adams Memorial Skate Park is one step closer to becoming a reality.

Earthwork began Thursday morning at Cloud Park - the site where the new skate park is to be built.

"This is the earth-moving part of the project in order to get the site ready for construction," said Kitty Frazier, Kingsport's parks and recreation director. "We'll be clearing out the old asphalt and prepping the ground in order to build the skate park."

This first phase of the project is expected to take about three or four weeks to complete. Construction of the actual skate park will then begin and take between three to four months to complete. The third phase of the project - installing fencing between the park and Center Street and transition areas to the adjacent parking lot - will take place after the park is available for use.

Frazier said the city hopes to open the skate park by late summer or early fall and have a formal dedication of the park at that time.

"It's pretty exciting to get started on it," Frazier said. "We're going to get this part of it done and really do the stuff people can see and understand. Right now we're just moving dirt, and it's hard to figure out what's going on."

Efforts to create a skate park in the Model City date back five years when a group of young people presented a petition to City Manager A. Ray Griffin Jr., asking that a park be built.

A volunteer team was convened in September 2001 by Kingsport Tomorrow, and the project gained momentum in October 2002 when friends and family of Scott Adams began raising money to build the park. Adams, 13, was accidentally killed while trying to retrieve his skateboard from Stone Drive.

Since then $350,000 has been raised or allocated to cover the cost of the construction. Approximately $160,000 came from private sources. Kingsport allocated $150,000 and awarded a Community Development Block Grant of $40,000 to the project.

The roughly 10,000-square-foot skate park will include two bowls - one is multi-depth and the other is 5 feet deep - a street course and an area for BMX bikes. Since the skate park is being built at an existing full-service park, rest rooms, a basketball court and picnic shelters are already located at the site.

When the project went out for bids last fall, the two bids came in higher than expected, which put the project in jeopardy.

However, the Kingsport Community Foundation donated the needed $100,000 to make the project happen. The funds were raised through the Kingsport Renewal! The Spirit Campaign, a private effort to raise money for several community projects, which includes the new YMCA, the baseball and softball fields at Weyerhaeuser Park, and the new soccer complex in Sullivan Gardens.

City officials have said the skate park team is still looking for donations of cash as well as services so that additional features can be added to the park in the future.

Kingsport is located on the Tennessee-Virginia border at the crossroads of I-81 and I-26 near the geographic center of the Eastern U.S. This city of 50,000 in a metro of 308,000, was planned by renowned American planner John Nolen in his office at Harvard Square. Located in the lush green foothills of the Tennessee Valley, it is surrounded by the Southern Highlands and mountain lakes. Kingsport is home to Marriott’s and thousands of acres of unique, natural amenities at Bays Mountain and Warriors Path Parks. The natural geography provides a temperate, well-balanced climate with four seasons and a natural shelter from extreme weather. Population growth has also been well-balanced, ensuring you will not outgrow your decision to relocate. With no personal property taxes, special assessments, or state income taxes on salaries/wages, you’ll find that Kingsport has a very low cost of living coupled with an exceptionally high quality of life (see for yourself at The regional airport (TRI) has direct flights to Atlanta, Charlotte, Orlando and St. Pete/Clearwater with easy access, parking, and virtually no security lines. The public education system was planned by Columbia University and Newsweek has repeatedly recognized the local high school as one of the best in America. Year in and year out our graduates go on to the top colleges and universities (and without costly private school tuition fees). Harvard also recognized Kingsport in 2009 with the Innovations in American Government Award for its higher education initiative. What are you waiting for? It’s time to leave the high costs, traffic jams, and stress behind and discover this hidden gem.