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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Kingsport sets pace in Great American Cleanup

Kingsport sets the pace for Tennessee in Great American Cleanup

Kingsport is often called the "volunteer city in the volunteer state". 

The community's tireless volunteerism really sets it apart as a true community that is held in esteemed trusteeship by its residents.

  • Tennessee is only state to have 100% participation by all counties
  • 4,994,685 lbs of litter collected across Tennessee
  • 1,672,435 lbs collected by Kingsport volunteers (1/4 of the state total)
  • 286,310 volunteer hours logged statewide
  • 8,442 hours logged by Kingsport volunteers

Keep Kingsport Beautiful is a mult-time winner of the national Keep America Beautiful program.  KKB is a partnership between the City of Kingsport and Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce.

Leslie Snyder, Executive Director
Kingsport Beautiful

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Sidewalks in Kingsport

Sidewalks in new Kingsport subdivisions

Planning Commission to hear proposed changes to sidewalk requirements

Thursday August 9, 2007
5:00pm to 8:00pm
Council Room
2nd Floor, City Hall

*This only pertains to future sidewalks in new subdivisions, it does not pertain to existing sidewalks or "retrofit" sidewalks like the ones recently installed on Ridgefields Road and Orebank Road


Alan Webb, Planning Manager



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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Kingsport gaining ground in retail

KINGSPORT – An extensive retail market study of the Kingsport area indicates that Kingsport is rapidly recapturing market share once lost to other regions.

The study, by Maryland-based Basile Baumann Prost & Associates, indicates that by 2009, when the full effect of the Kingsport Pavilion, Reedy Creek Place and new Lowes are realized, Kingsport will recapture $119.3 million in leaking retail sales.

In 2006, Kingsport faced an unmet trade demand of $587.9 million, and failed to capture its market base in seven of 10 retail categories.

By 2009, modeling the impact of retail development now underway, Kingsport will have closed the retail market gap to $468.5 million.

In addition, consultant Richard Basile noted that Kingsport will not only recapture its natural market base in five of 10 categories, but will actually begin drawing shoppers from outside the region in a major way for retail categories including electronics, building materials, clothing, sporting goods, books, music and miscellaneous retail.

"This clearly shows Kingsport is making quick progress in recapturing our market base," City Manager John Campbell said.

"Strategic investments in the community by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, a strong economic base and a renewal in the greater Kingsport housing sector, as well as market conditions, are all paying off for Kingsport area residents."

In total, by 2009, Kingsport will capture 64 percent of the total trade area retail demand, Assistant City Manager Jeff Fleming said. The five hottest sectors that are drawing new consumers from beyond the trade area are also inducing new retailers to take another look at Kingsport.

"This is great news, and yet another indication that Kingsport is clearly on the move," Fleming said. "But we clearly have some recruiting left to do, particularly in the areas of home furnishings, food and beverage stores, health and person care, general merchandise and restaurants. These are the areas where we are still behind in terms of capturing the full market share."

The market trade area was generally defined as western Sullivan County, portions of Southwest Virginia and Southeastern Kentucky, Hawkins County and to the intersection Interstate 81 and Interstate 26.

After a strong 2006 building season with $88.5 million in new investment, 2007 is on a record pace, with the month of May alone accounting for $22.7 million in new investment across the residential, professional office, retail and industrial sectors.

Tim Whaley
Community & Government Relations Officer
City of Kingsport

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Best Regards,

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Kingsport is fun

Kingsport is a fun place to live all the time, not just during Fun Fest
by Bob Arrington

            "There's nothing to do around here."

            How many times have we heard that one? Not only from kids. Not just from teenagers. But also from adults of all ages. Quite a few.

            It's a statement that's demonstrably false. There is actually a great deal to do "around here", especially in the summer, if by "around here" we mean Northeast Tennessee in general and Kingsport in particular.

            Here in Kingsport, we are concluding Fun Fest Week. Fun Fest has brought its usual itinerary of parades, fairs, concerts, wine tastings, sports clinics, kids' events, concerts, balloon  race, and so on.

            Downtown Kingsport has had a running series of outdoor concerts on Thursday and Friday evenings for the past two summers.

            Nearby communities, like Abingdon, Rogersville, and Jonesborough have offered, or will offer, their own events that are open to the public at little or no cost.

            You don't like crowds? You prefer your own entertainment?

            Well, we have Boone Lake, South Holston Lake, Watauga Lake, and Cherokee Lake for boating, skiing, swimming, and fishing. The Creeper Trail for hiking and biking is just a few miles away. The area doesn't lack golf courses, if you're a golfer. Public and private swimming pools abound.

            There's Bays Mountain Park and Warrior's Path State Park, among other venues, for more hiking, nature watching, canoeing, kayaking, picnicking, and more swimming.

            I haven't mentioned the new shopping and dining opportunities that have opened recently or are on the way. Most of you know what they are. They are, or will be, open year round.

            There were community fireworks on the 4th of July and will be  more fireworks tomorrow night to wind up Fun Fest. The Symphony of the Mountains has its usual season of "highbrow" entertainment.

            The Barter Theater is 45 minutes away.

            White water rafting is available on the Nolachuckey.

            All of the Tri-Cities have modern movie theaters.

            If you want variety, Asheville is less than two hours away. So is Knoxville. The roads to these cities are modern and well maintained.

            Of course, you have to stir yourself off the couch to avail yourself of the opportunities. You can't enjoy many of them from your den or backyard.

            "And the point is?" you ask.

            The point is that some Kingsporters still have this distressing tendency to put down our community.

            "We're just a mill town.."  "Kingsport is a nice place to live and work, but no one would want to visit here."  "There are a lot more fun places to live."

            Well, we do have solid manufacturing here. Kingsport really is a nice place to work.

            But the hundreds of young athletes and their families who show up every summer for AAU baseball and basketball want to visit here. So do the crowds who show up twice yearly for the NASCAR  races in Bristol.

            And when we recruit businesses and employees to relocate here, it sure wouldn't hurt to let them know Kingsport and its environs are as "fun" as a lot of places and more fun than most.

            Not just for one week. Not just during Fun Fest.  But most of the time.

            We just need to admit it's really true. Kingsport is a fun place to live.

            And perhaps best of all, it remains a place where you can live in a nice neighborhood less than 15 minutes from work, dining out, and shopping.

            So let's not carp about it. Let's help sell it to others.

            What did the Statler Brothers used to sing?

            "Now don't tell me, I've nothing to do."


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Best Regards,

Monday, July 23, 2007

Tennessee Sales Tax Holiday

Mark your calendar!  A great day to shop in Kingsport!

Friday Aug
3 12:01 a.m. - Sunday Aug 5 11:59 pm

School art supplies are now exempt, too!

Info at

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Kingsport, please write to



Saturday, July 21, 2007

Discovery Ice Cream

Discovery Ice Cream is now open

231 Broad Street, Kingsport, TN 37660

Phone 423.863.8901

Check out pics:

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Kingsport, please write to



Friday, July 20, 2007

You can go home again

A number of years ago, I left my home in northeastern Tennessee, I am, after all, a member of the clergy and one either goes where the churches are or one plants and pioneers a new church. In those days, I went where the opportunity presented itself which, in 1980, was in Colorado and, in 1983, to Georgia

   Author Thomas Wolfe once wrote, “You can’t go home again.” Recently, however, I spent the better part of a week in
Kingsport, the hometown of my youth. I found myself driving around the area remembering, reflecting, and rediscovering the hills and valleys of the first two decades of life. I had forgotten how breathtakingly beautiful the land really is. The first thing that strikes one about the area in which I was raised is color. The dominant color is green — green of all shades from a thousand varieties of lush vegetation. In the springtime, wildflowers, blossoming trees, and carefully cultivated plants in well-tended lawns add to the beauty in an explosion of rainbows of color. 

   As I drove through the outlying areas, farmhouses that have served several generations stood near ancient barns and fields that were still homes for horses and cows who grazed on the seemingly endless supply of grass.

   I rediscovered how much water was hidden by the trees in
Tennessee. It seems that nearly every country church is erected next to or near a stream, creek or brook. Some were so slow-moving as to appear utterly still. In others, the water flowed so rapidly that the rocks under the surface had all been smoothed and rounded by eons of relentless pressure. Life teemed in and near these streams. I could imagine generation after generation of believers making the joyful walk from the church sanctuary to the flowing water near the property and reverently, yet with songs and expressions of prayer and praise, stepping into and being placed under the waters to receive the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. 

   One also notices the churches — thousands of churches — ranging from Roman Catholic to Methodist, to 17 different shades of Baptists, to the more recent charismatic fellowships — and everything in between. Sunday, for the most part, is still a holy day, reserved for God and family, with a little pro football and NASCAR thrown in during the afternoons. Country radio stations still outnumber rock and roll stations, although there is also an ample offering of both Christian and public radio. 

   And the mountains! It is small wonder that the ancient Israelites often sought God on the mountains. But in eastern
Tennessee, the mountains are bursting with trees and foliage. Look in any direction, and the mountains are there. The mountains are rich with the history of the Cherokees and other tribes, the Colonial settlers, the battles of the War Between the States, the immigrant Scots, English, Irish and others. But these hills and valleys also are home to a unique culture that is not so much “Southern” as it is “mountain.” 

   “My people” do not really have a drawling Southern accent. It is, instead, a distinctive, slightly twangy, mode of speech that starts around
Knoxville, travels eastward toward Asheville, and heads north to Roanoke. I can be anywhere and instantly recognize the dialect of home before four words are spoken. But do not underestimate these people. They are bright, hard-working, tough, canny, innovative, hospitable, patriotic, and God-fearing folk. 

   The area is home to a number of colleges and universities but, regardless of where or if one went to college, on Saturdays in the fall, the region turns from green to orange and white as the rabid fans of the University of Tennessee Volunteers pack one of the largest stadiums in the country and, in homes, the TV is tuned in to watch the vaunted Vols seek the championship of, arguably, the toughest football conference in the nation, The Southeastern Conference. The fans stand when the national anthem is played and give near equal reverence to the
Tennessee fight song, “Rocky Top.” 

   Tennesseans are proud of the fact that more Tennesseans than Texans died in the
Alamo and that Sgt. Alvin York and Davy Crockett are native sons. I am a product of these hills and of these people, and that fact fills me with both pride and humility. Once in awhile, we really do need to go home again. Thomas Wolfe was wrong.




Thursday, July 19, 2007

Why Kingsport?

Jeff -

I love your informative messages about important facts and rankings for the City of Kingsport. The other day I was responding to a person about all that Kingsport has to offer and the numerous projects going on in and around the city. I was trying to put everything you had recently shared with us via your e-mails into one note. I started off with your list:

Total City & County property taxes on a $200,000 home in Kingsport, Tennessee = $2,395 per year

For a family of 4....

- No solid waste, garbage, trash or recycling fees
- No special school tax
- No special district tax
- No wheel tax (in
Sullivan County)
- No state income tax on salaries/wages
- No personal property tax
- No vehicle inspection fees
- No annual vehicle taxes of any kind
- Water/Sewer = $65 per month
- Electricity = $64 per month
- Natural Gas = $100 per month
- Digital Cable = $60 per month
- Internationally accredited police and fire departments

Then, I added a compiled list based on messages you have sent to the e-mail list over the past few months:

- Kingsport ranked 95th nationally as the best place to do business

- Forbes ranked Kingsport 3rd in the nation this year as the lowest cost to do business

- Kingsport/Bristol ranked 45th in nation for home price appreciation

- Kingsport ranked first this year in the region in best tasting water

- Kingsport/Bristol ranked 70 in nation's top 100 places to retire

- Kingsport's Dobyns Bennett ranked in the top 5% of America's high schools

- Kingsport ranked by Medical Economic Magazine as one of America’s Best Places to Practice Medicine. The unsolicited ranking had Kingsport as the only Tennessee city to qualify, one of only 6 cities in Mid-South / South Atlantic, and one of 29 nationwide.

- Sperling’s Best Places for 2007 ranked Kingsport/Bristol and Johnson City as the state's 2nd and 3rd best places (respectively, behind Knoxville)

- In 2007, 8 of the region’s Top 20 busiest non-interstate roadways were in Kingsport, 4 were in Johnson City, 4 were in Greeneville, 3 were in Elizabethton, and 1 was in Gate City/Weber City, VA

THEN I added items related to current development and redevelopment:

- East Stone Commons (former Kingsport Mall in final phase of occupancy)
- Kingsport Pavilion (former Mason-Dixon truck terminal)
- Reedy Creek Terrace (former bakery)
Crown Point Shopping Center (Food City/Shops/Restaurant Redevelopment)
- Riverbend Centre - Dining and shopping complex on
Ft. Henry Drive overlooking Holston River
- Second Lowe's being built in
West Kingsport

New and Planned Restaurants:

- Edo Sushi Bar and Grill
- Kaffe Blue
- Panera Bread
- Starbucks

And I added the new housing projects:

The Edinburgh – A planned neighborhood of 300+ home sites surrounding Kingsport’s newest elementary school

Skyland Falls – A 15-acre gated community being built off Alderwood Drive featuring 72 ranch-style condominiums

The Villas at Netherland Lane – A Mitch Cox Development Group planned community featuring 40 villa homes across from Asbury Place

Settler's Ridge – A patio home development featuring 110 units on Woods Way off Memorial Boulevard in Kingsport

Other patio home developments include Cooks Point at the corner of Harbor Chapel Road and Cooks Valley Road; Pinebrook Place off Stone Drive; and Cobblestone Place off Stone Drive

Who could forget the EVENTS:

The Santa Train
Twilight Alive Thursday concerts
Bluegrass On Broadstreet Friday concerts
Sculpture Walk
Parades: 4th of July, Funfest, Christmas

Planned Sites:

Kingsport Landing
Tennessee Interstate 26 Welcome Center

Legacy Sites:

MeadowView Resort and Conference Center (recent expansion of facilities)
Allandale Mansion (ongoing improvements via City leaders and Friends of Allandale)
Bays Mountain Park
Exchange Place
Netherland Inn House Museum and Boatyard Complex
Kingsport Greenbelt
Kingsport Renaissance Center

Regional Items:

Allegiant Air – The Tri-City Regional Airport's first-ever low-fare airline with direct flights to Orlando

I'm sure I left some things out, but I am so proud of our city and of the efforts of the city leaders to make Kingsport even better!

Sincerely yours,

Steve Cook


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Kingsport Retail Market Gap Analysis

As Kingsport continues to attract new retail businesses, it begs the question: "With all of the stores in the pipeline, how much more can we sustain before we start eroding the existing retail base?"

To answer that question, Basile Baumann Prost & Associates was commissioned to conduct a "retail market gap analysis".

Although the Tri-Cities' retail markets overlap to a certain degree, Kingsport's primary market area was defined as western Sullivan County, eastern Hawkins County, and parts of Southwest Virginia and Southeast Kentucky.

BBP determined there was $1.1186 billion in retail market potential in 2006 and existing
Kingsport retailers were satisfying 50% of market demand.

By 2009, BBP projects that demand will rise to $1.315 billion.  After factoring in all of the stores currently in the pipeline (Target, Kohls, Lowes West, etc), BBP projected that we will still only satisfy 64% of market demand!!!

So, while we've made great strides in
Kingsport, we still have many more retail opportunities!

Kingsport Indians State Champs

Congratulations to the 11-under Kingsport Indians who won the Tennessee State Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken State Baseball Championship in Nashville last night!

The team will represent
Tennessee  in the regional tournament in Jacksonville, FL on July 26.

Team members are:

Austin Hubbard, Kyle Reeves, Jamin McCann, Grant Cross, Dalton Price, Logan Gentry, Sam Stewart, Landon Jones, Austin Dayton, Luke Tyree, and Dezmond Chaffin.

Coaches: Lance Sawyer, Kelly Morton, Jerry Stewart



Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Kingsport Higher Ed Sites Narrowed

KINGSPORT – Architects, representatives from the downtown business community, key city staffers and representatives from Northeast State Community College met in a day long planning, design and site selection process Thursday as the city works hard to meet construction timelines.

“I think we got off to a solid start with the Thursday’s design charette,” Assistant City Manager Jeff Fleming said. “We’ve narrowed the sites from four to three, with a preferred site and two backup sites, and developed several potential building layouts that flow nicely into the downtown area.

“Given that the concept now includes two buildings, it was decided at this point that the Shelby Street parking lot was too small for a campus plan, so it should be held to support future economic development opportunities, such as a parking garage or mixed-use project.”

Plans currently call for the site selection decision to be made by the first of August, with a late September groundbreaking for the New Allied Health building expected to house 400 students in a number of nursing and medical technology programs that are being relocated to Kingsport.

A final site cannot be determined until environmental evaluations and appraisals are completed.

In order to meet the needs of NESCC, the Allied Health building will ideally be ready for opening by fall 2008.

Kingsport recently retained McCarty Holsapple McCarty, whose team includes local architectural firms Beeson Lusk & Street and John Fisher of Fisher & Associates. Together, this design team will develop the academic village master plan as well as design the new Higher Education Center and Allied Health buildings, with a total estimated project cost of $16 million.



Friday, July 13, 2007

Kingsport-Bristol is Tenn's 5th Largest Labor Market

According to the latest news release of the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development, Kingsport-Bristol is the 5th largest labor market and has the 5th lowest unemployment rate in the state:


Labor Force

Apr-07 Unemployment Rate

Nashville-Murfreesboro, TN



Memphis, TN-MS-AR



Knoxville, TN



Chattanooga, TN-GA



Kingsport-Bristol, TN-VA



Clarksville, TN-KY



Johnson City, TN



Morristown, TN



Jackson, TN



Cleveland, TN



Cookeville, TN



Tullahoma, TN



Sevierville, TN



Columbia, TN



Greeneville, TN



Harriman, TN



Athens, TN



Crossville, TN



Shelbyville, TN



Humboldt, TN



Union City, TN-KY



McMinnville, TN



Dyersburg, TN



LaFollette, TN



Lawrenceburg, TN



Newport, TN



Martin, TN



Paris, TN



Lewisburg, TN



Brownsville, TN






Source: State of Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development





Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Downtown Kingsport

Robotic ice cream!!

Tex-Mex food!!

Facade grants in the works!!

Sweet Racks and Tender Butts!

Haunted theatre!

Now that I have your attention, I encourage you all to attend a Downtown Walking Tour on Friday, July 27.  The tour starts at 8am at Kaffe Blue on Broad Street and ends at 12 Bones Smokehouse around 10:30am. There are many exciting things going on just down the street from us and there is so much to see, so wear comfy shoes and join the tour! You'll learn so many "insider" tips about what's going on in Downtown Kingsport!  I am proud to be a part of this exciting time and encourage you to thank those investing in our community. John and Angela Vachon lead the tours. They are the owners of several properties in the downtown community.

RSVP to Amber at or call 423-392-8800


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.