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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What is the potential of our region to attract newcomers?

Perhaps the best way to assess the potential of our region to attract newcomers is to look at our neighbors.

First, let's look at the Greater Tri-Cities, TN/VA. The 18 counties in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia attracted 19,258 newcomers between 2000 and 2007 (VA: Buchanan, Dickenson, Grayson, Lee, Russell, Smyth, Scott, Washington, Wise and Wythe. TN: Carter, Greene, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington). The entire state of West Virginia attracted only 17,191.Knox County, TN (Knoxville), attracted 17,579 -- in only one county! Buncombe County, NC (Asheville) attracted 14,227.

Blount County, TN (Maryville-Alcoa) attracted 11,734.

Henderson County, NC (Hendersonville) attracted 10,508.

Sevier County, TN (Sevierville-Pigeon Forge-Gatlinburg) attracted 8,768.

Roanoke County, VA (Roanoke-Salem) attracted 3,393.

So, the potential exists to greatly increase the number of newcomers who might be attracted to our region. Our attributes are very similar to Knoxville, Asheville, and Roanoke -- only on a smaller scale with less traffic and stress!


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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

How important are newcomers to our region?

The Census Bureau recently released the annual "Components of Population Change" for counties across the nation.

I took the opportunity to look at 32 counties in the 5-state area of Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky & West Virginia.

The region had a net natural population decline of 4,486 between 2000 and 2007 (this means there were more deaths than births). However, 14,027 new residents moved into the region (1,210 were international).

So, how important are newcomers? VERY! Many parts of the U.S. are experiencing population decline, but no one is moving in to replace those that left -- leaving the local economy in a declining mode. In fact, Youngstown, OH has embarked on a new city plan called, "The Incredible Shrinking City". Fewer residents means fewer workers, a smaller economy, declining retail sales, a soft housing market, etc.

When newcomers move to a region, they bring their talent, resources, and disposable income! If they're retired, their income source is sheltered from ebbs and flows of the local economy.

Let's roll out the welcome mat for newcomers! They're VERY important to our economic future!Why do they come here? A high quality life coupled with low cost of living in a temperate, four season climate.

Also, this region is perhaps the most sheltered in the U.S. when it comes to natural hazards (earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, landslides, volcanoes, wildfires, blizzards, etc.)


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Monday, January 28, 2008

Census Bureau releases state population estimates

2000-2007 Census Report: South's Population Growth Exceeds Total of All Other U.S. Regions

The South added 10.2 million new residents from 2000 to 2007 compared to 6.9 million for the West, 2 million for Midwest and 1 million for the Northeast. In fact, the South's population growth was greater than the total of all the other regions!The South's Population Growth (ranked nationally):

1. Texas 3.0 million
3. Florida 2.3 million
4. Georgia 1.4 million
5. North Carolina 1.0 million
6. Virginia 633,000
11. Tennessee 467,000
14. South Carolina 395,000
24. Kentucky 199,000
25. Alabama 180,000
27. Arkansas 161,000
37. Mississippi 74,000
49. West Virginia 3,700
51. Louisiana -176,000

Tennessee's population growth exceeded much larger states like Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio.

Tennessee's population growth exceeded the combined total of Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, West Virginia and Louisiana; however....

Georgia's growth was nearly 3 x Tennessee

Florida's growth was nearly 5 x Tennessee

North Carolina's growth was 2.2 x Tennessee

Tennessee continues to fall in the middle: not too hot, not too cold, but just right!

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Kingsport's MeadowView Marriott Announces Expansion, Two Towers, 110 Rooms

Kingsport's MeadowView Marriott Announces Expansion, Two Towers, 110 Rooms

Published 01/16/2008 By SHARON CASKEY HAYES

MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort & Convention Center announced Wednesday it plans to add two 55-room towers to the hotel, bringing its total number of rooms to 305. Construction will begin in late summer.

MeadowView opened in 1996 and has achieved more than 70 percent occupancy for the last three years.

MeadowView General Manager Andy King said the expansion is needed because the hotel and conference center has missed opportunities to host larger groups that required more rooms.
"We have enough meeting space to accommodate the larger groups but we have lost some business opportunities because we could not accommodate them with enough hotel rooms," King said. "This addition will allow us to utilize the meeting space more effectively and generate more revenue for the entire facility."

MeadowView is a partnership between the city of Kingsport and Eastman Chemical Co. The city owns the convention center and adjoining Cattails golf course, while Eastman owns the hotel and restaurant. Marriott manages the property. See Thursday's Times-News print edition for more information.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Turf Cam Available to Watch Turf Installation at J. Fred Johnson Stadium

Turf Cam Available to Watch Turf Installation Progress at J. Fred Johnson Stadium
See today's Times-News for the full article about progress of installing artificial turf at J. Fred Johnson Stadium.


Thought I would let you know that progress on the installation of artificial turf in J. Fred Johnson Stadium is moving along. As many residents are not able to see the field from Fort Henry Dr., we have installed a web cam for folks to “watch grass grow”. It can be found by following this link,, or by going to our website at, and clicking "About Us", then "Construction and Renovation Update", then "Artificial Turf", then "View Turf Installation Progress".

Thanks so much,
Amy Greear
Community Relations Coordinator
Kingsport City Schools
Phone (423) 378-2123
Fax (423) 378-2120

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Perfection and Abundance

Perfection and Abundance

While our town will never me “perfect”, we should be mindful of the “abundance” that surrounds us and be ever grateful that we live in an awesome region that defies real measurement in terms of the materialism that dominates American society today.

When I get to the end of my days and look back, I believe I will ask myself: Did I connect with people of all walks of life? Did I make a difference in my community? Was my life meaningful? Did I take time for the “little things”, like spending time with my kids?

I can’t get that kind of fulfillment while sitting in a traffic jam on an interstate in a state of road rage as another nameless, faceless commuter on the fast track to goodness knows where.
I don’t think I am unique in that frame of reference, either. The spirit of “giving back” is so prevalent in our community. It’s one of my favorite things about Kingsport. It's not just a model city, it's a model community.

Thanks, Jeff

Less than perfect

Things will never be perfect. Sometimes they will never even be close. Yet that is no reason to hide away from life, no reason to curse your predicament. On the contrary, it is every reason to rise up and go forth with renewed determination.

If you wait for conditions to be perfect, you won't ever get much done. If you refuse to go ahead unless you can be guaranteed of a sure thing, you'll never get very far.

It's great to aim toward perfection, yet to arrive at perfection you must cross through a lot of imperfection. To get everything just right, you must be willing to deal with things going wrong.
Take this day, this moment, with all its flaws, and make the very most of it. Rather than complaining about what you don't have or where you'd rather be, make full use of where you are, of what you do have.

Aim toward perfection while also accepting the reality of what is. And excellence will surely result.

-- Ralph Marston

Focus on abundance

Abundance is a state of mind. See the world through eyes of abundance, and you bring that abundance surely to life.

If you live in fear of scarcity, your very actions will serve to create that scarcity. Instead, let abundance color your thoughts and your moments.

There are positive possibilities in every direction. Choose the ones that best fulfill who you are. Bring life to the highest of your possibilities, with richness and passion. Dive into the abundance that is waiting to be lived.

The problems and challenges may seem big, until you compare them to the positive possibilities. Lack and limitation may seem real, until you experience the reality of true abundance.

Focus your thoughts, your moments, your actions, your days on the abundance that is surely there. The more of it you know and experience, the more there will be.

-- Ralph Marston

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

What if there was a place....

This might just be the perfect place to live!

What if there was a place…

Wher the hottest summer days were like Minneapolis, Chicago, or Boston, but the winter snowfall was 34 inches less?

Where the annual high and low temperatures were like San Francisco (minus the faultline)?

Where the average winter days were like Atlanta, Charlotte, or Nashville, but the summers had 35 fewer days of sweltering above-90-degree heat?

Where the number of days with above-90-degree heat were half that of Denver (and the winters had 45 fewer inches of snowfall)?

Where lush green vegetation was naturally maintained by rainfall amounts comparable to the Pacific Northwest cities of Seattle and Portland?

Where nature’s beauty unfolded quarterly through balanced seasons of winter, spring, summer and fall?

And what if that place’s natural watershed scored a perfect 100 out of 100?

And what if that place were equidistant from every major metropolitan market in the eastern United States?

Oh, and did I mention that it is consistently one of the most affordable places to live?

Mix in some of the nicest, most accommodating people in the world…

And you have the Tri-Cities of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia … it very well could be the perfect place!

Data Source:

This is a repeat post from 2004, but I thought it worth a re-send. If you would like to receive "good news" about Kingsport, please write to
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.