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Thursday, February 28, 2008

2007 A Record Year For New Investment In Kingsport

KINGSPORT -- The books are closed on a record calendar year for new investment, with the city of Kingsport setting a blistering $164.48 million pace for new construction, nearly doubling the $88.5 million total of 2006.

“I’ve been in the building division in Kingsport for 30 years, and I have never seen a year this strong,” Building Official Mike Freeman said. “And really, it looks like we are going to have a solid 2008 as well, particularly with the huge project Eastman Chemical is working on.”

On the housing front, 120 new detached houses, 58 condominium and 53 apartment units were permitted for construction in 2007, for a total value of $28.2 million in residential construction. The average home permit value was $162,030, up $4,399 over the average single-family home in 2006.

“We have hundreds of folks moving into the Kingsport area each year, but only a limited amount of developable land inside the city limits,” Freeman said. “That’s why annexation is critical, to bring more developable land inside the city for residential construction.”

City Manager John Campbell said he is particularly encouraged by the number of regional homebuilders now looking to the single-family market in Kingsport.

“Just this past seven days, there have been four different developers in my office who are keenly interested in looking for land to build on in Kingsport,” Campbell said. “We need to be able to ensure city services are available at developable properties to make these potential projects become reality.”

On the commercial side of the ledger, Holston Medical Group’s new six story medical office building on Stone Drive was valued at $40 million in new investment, offering well over 200,000 square feet of medical office space when completed.

All told, Kingsport realized $92.7 million in commercial construction and renovation, with continued two new office buildings in the MeadowView business district, completion of the Kingsport Pavilion, the new Food City at Crown Point and start of construction at Reedy Creek Terrace and Goose Creek Plaza on Jack White Drive, not to mention a $1 million renovation to Wal-Mart on Fort Henry Drive.

On the industrial side, the city processed four building permits with a construction value of $7 million, the very first of the $265 million Eastman will spend each year for the next five years as they add new production capacity and pollution controls, while also rejuvenating manufacturing infrastructure at the site.

The 2007 annual building report also notes that the old Wal-Mart on Stonegate Road has been demolished to prepare for redevelopment, the Pavilion has several out parcels available and work should begin in 2008 on the extensive Fort Henry Mall renovation projected to add 80,000 plus square feet of retail space to that facility.

Meanwhile, work will get under way this year on the estimated $12 million Higher Education Center, a $15 million addition to the Marriott Hotel at MeadowView, while work continues on the $100 million Project Platinum at Wellmont Holston Valley Medical Center.

“All-in-all, Kingsport continues to be in a great position moving forward,” Campbell said. “While we won’t see all of the positive impacts for 2-4 years, we are building real economic synergy in Kingsport. In the mid-term, the strong pace of development gets us much closer to our goal of providing the best possible services at the lowest possible cost.”

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tennessee Is One Of The Happy States

Tennessee is one of the "happy states"

Dr. Tony Delucia of ETSU recently shared some information about mental health in the U.S.

It seems TN has one of the “happiest” states in the Union…. (my interpretation) I wonder how much of that has to do with the demographic, how much with socioeconomics, how much with religion/spirituality, how much with a beautiful environment, etc. --------------------

"Happy" States
1. Louisiana
2. North Carolina
3. Tennessee
4. South Dakota
5. Kentucky

"Unhappy" States:
1. Utah
2. Nevada
3. Michigan
4. California
5. New York


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Friday, February 22, 2008

Kingsport's Fun Fest Named A Top 20 Event in Southeast

For Immediate Release

Lucy Fleming


Travel industry organization has saluted region’s best events since 1985

ATLANTA, Ga. -- Southeast Tourism Society has named Fun Fest one of the Top 20 Events in the Southeast for July. ”We are thrilled to win the July designation for a third consecutive year,” said Olan O. Jones, Jr., 2008 Fun Fest chairman. “To be one of the top 20 festivals in 12 states during July is a significant indicator of what a major festival we have in our community.”

This year's Fun Fest will take place July 11-19. A program of the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce, the annual community festival includes free entertainment, children’s events, Miss Kingsport pageant, and other activities.

“We have several exciting new events and concert entertainers to announce within the next few weeks,” Jones added.

“The STS Top 20 Events list is a excellent guide for travelers in the Southeast. Events chosen represent the best activities the region offers. Being chosen is a great accolade that can draw extra attention to a festival or special event,” said Neville Bhada, director of communications and public relations for the Southeast Tourism Society.

STS started its Top 20 Events program in 1985. Travel industry experts select 20 events per month, and STS publicizes the list throughout the region and beyond. The complete list is published monthly on two Web sites: and

To be nominated for Top 20 Event consideration, an event must be in at least its third year and must have attendance of at least 1,000. Nomination forms and deadlines are available at or by calling 404-364-9847.

STS, founded in 1983 and headquartered in Atlanta, is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting tourism in 12 southeastern states—Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

For more information about Fun Fest and its 28-year history, visit

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Congratulations to Kingsport's MeadowView Marriott

The Kingsport Convention and Visitors Bureau would like to congratulate MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort and Convention Center for another exceptional year in Kingsport!

We thank you for your dedicated service and look forward to many more great years. You’re definitely a “jewel in our crown.”

The Marriott International's North American Lodging Organization (NALO) awards banquet held last night in Tampa Florida awarded MeadowView the following:

Best in Class: Guest Satisfaction
Best in Class: Problems Experienced
Best in Class: Spirit to Serve / Service
Best in Class: Food Quality

And for the third time in 4 years Meadowview has won:


MeadowView won this award last year for the second time in 3 years and that was the first time any Marriott property had won this twice.

Heather Jones
Director of Marketing
Kingsport Convention & Visitors Bureau
151 E. Main Street
Kingsport, TN 37660
(423) 392-8828

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Church Circle, Kingsport, Tennessee

-----Original Message-----
From: Patty Jo Nachman []
Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2008 12:29 PM
Subject: Church Circle Art

Hi Jeff,I thought you might be interested in some art of Church Circle available at Up Against the Wall gallery in downtown Kingsport. My brother Steve Sweny, an artist from Atlanta, was so taken with our Church Circle he made a drawing of it and had prints made. Mike Milhorn, owner of the gallery, thinks they will make a nice souvenir for visitors or gifts for residents, priced at a reasonable $30. Below is the drawing. He also did prints in black and white.
Patty Jo Nachman

Rachel Reed update

You may recall that Rachel Reed was involved in a tragic car accident on Feb 8 in Kingsport.  I previously sent an email titled, “From Tragedy to Testimony”.  Her father sent these photos and offered an update to the community.  Thanks, Jeff




-----Original Message-----
Ricky Reed []
Subject: Re: From Tragedy to Testimony


Hi Jeff,

I just wanted to give you the latest on our miracle, who we now call the Bionic Woman!  She was moved to ICU stepdown last night, and will be going to a regular room today.  Her wrist surgery is tomorrow, and I'm told that she has two breaks there in the major bones, but I know God can take care of that, too.  Yesterday was the best day yet, as she started talking like our Rachel, got all cleaned up by her mom and one of her best friends, and when I asked her if she wanted something to eat, she said "Well, I guess I'll have a chipped ham with mustard and lettuce, no mayonnaise, and a vanilla shake from Pal's....and a mirror!", and when she got it, it was so wonderful to see her enjoying it.  I went back to her car yesterday evening, and all I could do is just stand in awe that God truly did have her in His arms....the floorboard area on the driver's side was almost totally demolished, and I could barely reach into the car to try and clean stuff out.  I have more stories, of other people who were there even before the emergency personnel arrived, which I'd love for you to see, too.  Rachel is without no doubt a chosen vessel.  Thank you so much for passing the story on to so many, as it has touched so many lives.  She even let me take her picture last night, and gave this one her approval.

God bless,

Ricky Reed

Monday, February 04, 2008

Celebrating Kingsport

Bob Feagins Director of Communications & Public Relations
Kingsport Tennessee Area Chamber of Commerce

KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Global-recording artists and world-acclaimed stars DESTINO and the Symphony of the Mountains Orchestra Brass Ensemble entertained more than 1,200 guests Friday night in world-class fashion at the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce 61st Annual Dinner at the MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort & Convention Center.

As part of the celebration, the Kingsport Chamber showcased some of the many accomplishments achieved in Kingsport in 2007 and previewed part of its 2008 business and community initiatives.

Some of the numerous Kingsport highlights and accomplishments recognized by the Kingsport Chamber in 2007 included:

Eastman Chemical Company’s Project Reinvest will pour $1.3 billion into the company’s Kingsport headquarters.

Construction of the new Allied Health Center and the Kingsport Higher Education Center in downtown Kingsport.

The construction of a new $8 million FedEx facility at Gateway Commerce Park.

Holston Valley Medical Center’s $100 million Project Platinum initiative.

Holston Medical Group’s construction of the Eastman Holston Valley Outpatient Center, the largest free-standing medical building of its kind in the nation not attached to a hospital or university.

The strong growth and development of many new residential housing developments in Kingsport.

The announcement of a $15 million expansion and renovation and another record revenue business year for the MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort & Convention Center. The MeadowView Marriott was once again recognized by guests as the number one Marriott in the world in terms of Overall Customer Satisfaction, number one in Quality of Food, number one in In-Room Dining and Room Service, number one in Guest Intent to Return to the Hotel and number one in Room Cleanliness. MeadowView will soon be undergoing a $15 million expansion and renovation that will add 110 rooms to the beautiful resort.

The opening and early retail success of Kingsport Pavilion, the new $55 million, 625,000-square-foot retail complex on Stone Drive.

The success of East Stone Commons.

The construction of Reedy Creek Terrace, the new $6 million, 45,000-square-foot retail and office development on Eastman Road.

The multi-million dollar expansion and renovation plans for the Fort Henry Mall, soon to be the Kingsport Town Center.

The millions of dollars worth of investment in downtown Kingsport and the opening of several restaurants, businesses and residential housing in downtown.

The popular success of the Downtown Concert Series.

The $1 million redevelopment of the Kingsport State Theater.

Construction of the new John Adams Elementary School, a new Boys & Girls Club and a new Kingsport Family YMCA.

Growth plans for the Quebecor property.

The continued work and plans for Kingsport Landing, an arts, entertainment and heritage district along the banks of the Holston River.

The Kingsport Chamber’s Move to Kingsport program, a partnership with the city of Kingsport, AccuForce Staffing Services and the Kingsport Times-News, continued to market and promote Kingsport as the best place to live to the thousands of new residents moving here.

More than 20,000 people visited Kingsport for a record number of nine sports tournaments brought to and hosted in Kingsport by the Kingsport Convention and Visitors Bureau. These visitors poured more than $7.6 million into the local economy and the KCVB gave more than $70,000 in proceeds from the tournaments to area schools.

The Kingsport Office of Small Business Development and Entrepreneurship (KOSBE) continued in its efforts to promote small business enterprise. In 2007, KOSBE helped small business owners gain access to more than $850,000 in funding through secondary lenders and SBA-promoted or BERO-promoted loan programs.

Fun Fest celebrated a successful 27th festival with more than 100 popular events, including a performance at the Eastman concert by Charlie Daniels and the Symphony of the Mountains Orchestra to a record crowd exceeding 10,000 people.

The Kingsport Leadership program continued to graduate new community trustees from its Leadership Kingsport, S.H.O.U.T.!® Youth Leadership (Students Helping Others Understand Tomorrow) and ENCORE (Enrich and Nurture your Community; Offer your Resources and Experience) classes.

Keep Kingsport Beautiful continued with its award-winning environmental protection and beautification efforts for Kingsport.

The Kingsport Chamber’s legislative affairs committee reviewed more than 2,000 pieces of legislation that impacted business.

The Kingsport Chamber’s Tennessee-Virginia Scholars program graduated several hundred students that represented 32 percent of the total graduating classes from the city of Kingsport, Sullivan County, Hawkins County and Scott County, Virginia, schools.

The Kingsport Chamber’s education program continued to administer the Sullivan County Imagination Library initiative, which now has more than 4,000 children enrolled in the program.

“When you look around at what this community has accomplished this year, it truly is amazing,” said Tony Hewitt, 2007 Kingsport Chamber president and commercial development and community relations director with BAE SYSTEMS. “We are definitely on our feet again and taking full steps toward a brighter future.”

Longtime Kingsport resident, business executive and community leader John Douglas was honored as the very prestigious Kingsport Chamber Lifetime Member, an award that honors an individual for a lifetime of outstanding service to the community.

The 1988 Kingsport Chamber president and former vice president with Eastman Chemical Company, Douglas is the 17th recipient of the distinguished honor.

Bob Feagins Director of Communications & Public Relations Kingsport Tennessee Area Chamber of Commerce 423-392-8800

"Kingsport has been listed as one of America’s Top 100 Places to Live in 2006 by, one of only two cities in the state to top the list!"

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Friday, February 01, 2008

Fly non-stop Tri-Cities to Myrtle Beach

Southern Skyways, a scheduled public charter operated by Primaris Airlines, announced today seasonal non-stop jet service between Tri-Cities Regional Airport (TRI) and Myrtle Beach, SC. Flights will begin May 21, 2008 and operate through Labor Day. Southern Skyways will initially offer service on Wednesdays and Saturdays with fares ranging from $59 to $129* each way, depending upon availability at the time seats are booked. Myrtle Beach is the second largest family summer vacation destination in the United States.

For a limited time, Southern Skyways is offering a terrific opportunity for families looking for the best deal to a fabulous beach destination. Book by February 29, 2008 and kids 12 and under fly free with an adult traveling together.

Reservations can be made by calling toll-free 1-877-2-FLY-SOUTH (1-877-235-9768) or on the web at There are no additional fees for seat assignments, booking on line or checking luggage within standard luggage limitations. For more details, please see the Policies and Procedures tab on the website.

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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.