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Sunday, February 26, 2017

2017 Spring Adult Softball Registration

Matthew Elkins
2017 Spring Adult Softball Registration
Kingsport, TN – The spring sports season is almost here. Kingsport Parks & Recreation is now registering teams for spring adult softball. Teams can have a maximum of 20 players on their roster. The divisions offered are Women’s Open, Co-Ed, Men’s Open, Industrial and Church.

League play is scheduled to begin the week of April 17. The entry fee is $350.00 per team with a $10.00 non-resident fee for all players who live outside Kingsport city limits (max: $50). The deadline for registration is Monday, April 3, at 5:30 p.m.

Teams can register Monday through Friday at the Civic Auditorium, located at 1550 Fort Henry Drive, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

All Church and Industrial teams must abide by the eligibility requirements mandated in the 2017 rules. To view a copy of the rules, please call 423-229-9458.

For more information, please contact Matthew Elkins at 423-229-9458 or
About the City of Kingsport
Founded in 1917, the City of Kingsport (pop. 53,000) 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.  The city is widely known as a planned community, designed by renowned city planner John Nolen and wrapping around the foot of Bays Mountain – a 3,500 acre park, nature preserve, planetarium and observatory.  Kingsport is recognized as an International Safe Community by the National Safety Council, a Healthier Tennessee community, and won the 2009 Harvard Innovations in American Government Award for its higher education initiatives.  While many city names are duplicated throughout the U.S., there’s only one Kingsport – a fact that invokes community pride, known locally as the “Kingsport Spirit.”

The full story - DBHS expansion plans

Dobyns-Bennett High School Regional Science and Technology Center
Last night at the KCS Board of Education February 23 Work Session, renowned international architecture firm Perkins+Will has completed initial design concepts for the Regional Science and Technology Center (RSTC) to be constructed at Dobyns-Bennett High School!
  • The overall goals for the Regional Science and Technology Center include:
    • Adding an enhanced science and technology program at D-B, with new/enhanced facilities and programming, while increasing D-B's student capacity.
    • Defining the D-B main entrance.
    • Improving circulation and accessibility at D-B for students and staff.
    • Capitalizing on an opportunity for a new identity for the D-B facility, while maintaining the current design and legacy elements.
  • Visioning work on the Regional Science and Technology Center began in May 2016 with a session involving D-B staff members, focusing on design and programming.  Key work since that time has included:
    • Conceptual Design and Programming - July 2016
    • Schematic Design - August/September 2016
    • Design Development - November 2016
  • As designed, the new three-story facility will include:
    • 18 science/technology labs
    • Two teacher work spaces
    • Six student work spaces
    • One TEAL (Technology Enhanced Active Learning) lab
    • One large research lab
    • Four small research labs
    • A student cafe 
    • Administrative offices
  • The new facility would raise the D-B capacity to support 2,500 students at 85% utilization.
  • Construction of the new Regional Science and Technology Center may begin as early as Fall of 2017, with a potential move-in date in the Winter of 2018.
Click here to view an expanded presentation about the Regional Science and Technology Center.  Also, keep an eye on the KCS Facilities Update webpage for additional information on the RSTC and other facility news in the coming months.
*Note that as facility design and branding development continues in the coming months, the preliminary images contained in the presentation below may not match final construction. 

School of the Future - DB EXCEL holds ribbon cutting

School of the future: DB EXCEL holds ribbon cutting
KINGSPORT — Welcome to the "swivel room," where high school students sit at a round table on what look like round ottomans, except they tilt and ...

Kingsport residents encouraged to use free recycling service

Kingsport residents encouraged to join free recycling service
KINGSPORT, TN – Recycling is a free city service with over 13,000 current residents. In the past seven months, over 340 cans were delivered to new ...

Owner says he was on target with move to Kingsport

Stryker Gunsmithing owner says he was right on target with move to Kingsport
Two years after opening Stryker Gunsmithing, owner Keith Nichols says Kingsport is the best place he possibly could've picked to move his family and ...

Kingsport native earns SoCon player of the week

Kingsport native and Bucs Chris Cook earns SoCon Player of the Week
20, 2017) – After mashing double-digit hits in the season opening series with Central Michigan, red-shirt junior Chris Cook (Kingsport, Tenn.) earned ...

Update on the ONEKingsport initiative and projects

OneKingsport Progress Update
Jane Henry, Summit Advisory Commission Chair, gave a progress report on year one projects for OneKingsport. Several have been completed, and she was happy to announce that some initiatives have sparked new private investment interest.

To view the OneKingsport Progress presentation, click here.

Downtown Kingsport's annual report - must see!

DKA Update
Downtown Kingsport Association Update
Sherri Mosley provided a year in review for 2016 regarding achievements for the organization. DKA uses a four point approach to downtown growth and success, which includes design, organization, promotion and economic vitality. 

To view DKA's presentation, click here.

John McCoy receives Tennessee Individual Service Award

John McCoy
L to R: Alderman George, John McCoy, Kitty Frazier 
Four Star Award Individual Service Award - John McCoy
John is a charter member of the Kingsport Greenbelt advisory committee and has been actively involved with the Greenbelt since 1987. Through the years, John has helped guide the Greenbelt master plan, negotiated land easements for trails, presented information about the Greenbelt to community groups, advocated city leadership for Greenbelt needs, attended ribbon cuttings and supported various events held on the Greenbelt. Over the past 29 years, John has rarely missed a monthly committee meeting. John says the Greenbelt gives back so much to the residents and he can see success in the committee’s efforts. John McCoy is an outstanding volunteer in the Kingsport community and has been a part of the Parks and Recreation “family” for many years.

Cyclo-Cross receives Tennessee Athletics Program Award

Kingsport Parks & Rec Dept
L to R:  Alderman George, Mike Patterson, Kitty Frazier, Jason Wilburn
Four Star Athletics Program Award - Cyclo-Cross Event
The Kingsport Cyclo-cross event is a premier event for the Cyclo-cross community and the only one of its kind in East Tennessee. Cycling is a nontraditional sport that requires a tremendous amount of athletic strength and ability. In partnership with Cyclo-cross representative Dwayne Lettermen, the event was registered with Union Cyclist International, providing the event additional promotions across the country. The City of Kingsport realized a positive economic impact estimated to be over $150,000 - and awarded the Kingsport Cyclo-cross Cup as a premier event for athletic programming. 

David Cate receives Tennessee Digital Media Award

Kingsport Parks & Rec Dept
L to R: Alderman George, David Cate, Kitty Frazier
Four Star Media-Digital Award - David Cate
David Cate is a lover of nature and it shows. He worked with Kingsport Parks & Recreation to create a Greenbelt video that highlights various recreation usages and the natural beauty of the area. Digital marketing made a great impact on how many people used the Kingsport Greenbelt in 2016. Features of the 9-mile long trail were showcased through promotional videos, digital billboards, educational videos and a new website. Kingsport Parks & Recreation will continue innovative ways to promote their parks through digital media.

Learn more about the Greenbelt and our parks here.

Preston Forest Park receives Tennessee Renovated Facility Award

Preston Forest Neighborhood Association
L to R: Alderman George, Reba Barber, Robin Dimona, Kitty Frazier
Four Star Renovated Facility Award - Preston Forest Park
The Preston Forest Community Association met with representatives from the Parks and Recreation Department to design a playground including components for a crawl-through tube, multiple deck heights, double slide, shade canopies, a climbing feature and multi-sensory interactive play. The Neighborhood Association donated $15,000 to this project and the City of Kingsport matched with an additional $15,000.

Jacobs Creek Job Corps awarded Tennessee Benefactor Award

Jacobs Creek Job Corp
L to R:  Alderman George, Terrance Phillips, Robin Dimona, Kitty Frazier 
Four Star Benefactor Award - Jacobs Creek Job Corps
The Jacobs Creek Job Corps Restroom Project was awarded the 2016 Four Star Benefactor Award, under the direction of team leader Terrance Phillips. The well-built restroom structure is utilized for community use at Horse Creek Soccer Complex. Jacobs Creek Job Corps Center is an outstanding organization that helps improve the lives of young adults. Jacobs Job Corps contributed over 4,885 man hours and saved the City of Kingsport approximately $50,000 in labor costs.

Regional Science & Technology Center also new D-B front door

KINGSPORT — An iconic local high school, built when the Beatles were on the radio and the Vietnam War and protests against it raged, is about to get ..

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Kingsport Press transformed

These are my remarks from the ribbon-cutting of DBEXCEL.  What is DBEXCEL? Click here

I wanted to take a moment and talk about the transformation that has taken place on this site.

Kingsport Press began in 1922 as one of the city’s original industries.  It grew to become the largest complete book manufacturing firm in the world.  Peak employment was 2,500.  In 1992 it was acquired by Montreal-based Quebecor World.  Products included elementary, high school, and college textbooks; reference sets; Bibles and hymnals; children’s books; dictionaries; and school yearbook covers.

With the onset of technologies like eBooks, Kindle, and Nook, the demand for printed books diminished and Quebecor made the tough decision to close the facility in 2006.   Generations of Kingsport area residents earned their livelihood on this very site – and were justifiably tearful at the news.  Immediately upon closure, the City of Kingsport purchased 54 separate buildings totaling 950,000 square feet spanning 20 acres – for a dollar – because it was deemed to have no economic value to the private sector.

Many of us may have forgotten the structure’s prior condition…the railroad spur down the middle of Clinchfield Street…the silver painted-over windows required for blackouts during World War II…or the walled fortress around 2 city blocks that separated the Press from passers by and the outside world.

The task that lie ahead was daunting.

As if by divine intervention, a demolition contractor passed through on the way to the Bristol race and offered his services.  He had developed a special niche in recycling the demolished materials.  And so it began…the layers of the complex structure began to be stripped away and the creative sparks of what might be began.

The partially-cleared site was enough to gain the eye of Food City, who built a downtown grocery with adjacent restaurants and professional offices.  They installed a replica of the iconic water tower with the words “Kingsport Press” and a fountain surrounded by pavers that were sold to memorialize families and former employees.  The proceeds went to the Carousel, which occupies another part of the site.  Yet another remnant of the former factory was converted into the Farmers Market, which nurtures small farmers selling locally-grown products and doubles as a venue for festivals, events, weddings, and community gatherings.

And the largest building – where we are today – became a hub for commerce, business, entrepreneurship, tourism, education, medicine, and economic development.

In less than 10 years, Kingsport Press has been remarkably transformed with a nod to the past and a focus on the future.

A new generation of Kingsporters are aspiring to learn, celebrate, improve their economic circumstance and build a brighter future.

It’s a testimony to the true ingenuity of the Kingsport Spirit – envisioning what might be, instead of being limited by what was.

And this site, which was earlier deemed to be worth only a dollar – is now invaluable.

Congratulations and thank you for allowing me to share a small part of this special day.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Dobyns-Bennett's National Ocean Science Bowl Team; Places 5th at Regional Competition

KINGSPORT, Tenn.Dobyns-Bennett High School has established its first competitive teams in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl, reinforcing its commitment to empowering students to apply the principles of science, technology, reading, engineering, arts and mathematics (STREAM) to real-world problem solving.
Students and coaches from coastal communities and landlocked states rallied together on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 at the Regional Blue Heron Bowl in Wilmington, NC around the theme of marine renewable energy: Blue Energy – Powering the Planet with our Ocean.

The students on the Dobyns-Bennett team, Elizabeth Batts, Lilly Kramer and Allison and Jamie Cahill, reflect the importance of equipping a diverse future workforce to pursue STREAM careers.

Competing against North Carolina’s top performing high schools in math and science, DBHS finished in the Top 5 at the Regional Competition.  In addition, the coaches and volunteers at the event awarded the D-B team with the “Sportsmanship Award” for their positive enthusiasm throughout the event. Team captain, Elizabeth Batts from D-B shared, “Working together and applying the strengths of each team member allowed us to have fun while competing.  The experience was amazing and the exposure to the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Marine Science Center is definitely something we will remember.” The team members agree that they are all looking forward to competing again next year. 

D-B’s interest in ocean science goes beyond the National Ocean Sciences Bowl.  In January, the school launched its inaugural capstone course with a focus on ocean processes.  Through a partnership with Eastman and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, students are challenged to apply cross-disciplinary learning to real world issues and problems.  By interacting with some of the world’s top ocean scientists on active research projects, students are exposed to unique experiences that will give them a competitive advantage while continuing their education and entering the workforce.    

Why bring ocean science to East Tennessee?  The ocean matters everywhere.  It drives our weather and climate and is an integral part of the food web.  The ocean plays a key role in transportation, telecommunication, and national security.  It is the source of 97% of the water we drink and 50% of the oxygen we breathe.  And yet, the ocean is still not sufficiently understood.  “Change begins with education and what better way to engage in a global need than to inspire the best and brightest young minds around the endless possibilities of applying educational skills to impact the issues of our changing world,” said Natalie Pickett, instructor of the capstone course at Dobyns-Bennett. “The opportunities and benefits associated with our partnership with Eastman and their support of the world’s leading oceanographic research institution is certainly a differentiator for our students and presents them with exceptional experiences that are unique to our region.” 

“The integration of ocean science into our curriculum is a great example of how effective public private partnerships empower the next generation of thinkers, makers and scientists to be the catalysts for change that our global community needs,” said David A. Golden, Eastman’s senior vice president and chief legal & sustainability officer.  The ocean processes course was developed with the assistance of the world-class scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Golden continued, “Problem solving in the real world requires an interdisciplinary approach and that is what the course employs.  Using advanced math, chemistry, physics, biology, robotics, and computer coding as an underpinning, the course develops real world problem-solving and critical thinking skills and provides these students with a strong foundation for their future careers.”

Exposure to a capstone course in ocean processes is a unique experience for students and D-B is one of only a few select high schools in the United States offering such a program.  Expanding curriculum in the areas of STREAM and increasing a problem-based approach to learning complements the school’s ongoing plans to introduce a new science and technology center, also known as D-B 2.0.

Eastman is a global advanced materials and specialty additives company that produces a broad range of products found in items people use every day. With a portfolio of specialty businesses, Eastman works with customers to deliver innovative products and solutions while maintaining a commitment to safety and sustainability. Its market-driven approaches take advantage of world-class technology platforms and leading positions in attractive end-markets such as transportation, building and construction and consumables. Eastman focuses on creating consistent, superior value for all stakeholders. As a globally diverse company, Eastman serves customers in more than 100 countries and had 2016 revenues of approximately $9.0 billion. The company is headquartered in Kingsport, Tennessee and employs approximately 14,000 people around the world. For more information, visit

The National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB) encompasses numerous scientific disciplines and encourages an increased understanding of the science needed to sustain strong communities, including improving community awareness; addressing erosion and increasing coastal populations and development; restoring coastlines; protecting estuarine ecosystems and services; and improving coastal disaster projection, preparedness, and response. The competition tests students’ knowledge of ocean-related topics, which include cross-disciplines of biology, chemistry, policy, physics, and geology. The NOSB is an interdisciplinary ocean science education program of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership based in Washington, D.C.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is the world's leading, independent non-profit organization dedicated to ocean research, exploration, and education. Scientists and engineers push the boundaries of knowledge about the ocean to reveal its impacts on our planet and our lives. WHOI’s hard-won experience at sea, innovative technology, and commitment to research and education make the institution a reliable source of valuable knowledge about the ocean for scientists, decision-makers, and the public.

Kingsport City Schools (KCS) is a public school district located in Kingsport, Tenn., serving students in Sullivan and Hawkins county. The district is comprised of 13 schools, including a Pre-K, eight elementary schools, two middle schools, one high school, a high school program of choice and an alternative learning program; with total enrollment over 7,500 students. The vision of Kingsport City Schools is to be, Student Focused … World Class.

KCS has been named the top school district in Tennessee as winner of the 2014 SCORE Prize District Award by the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) and has earned the 2014 Achievement Award in the annual Excellence in Tennessee Recognition Program by the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence (TNPCE).

For more information on KCS, visit, listen live on WCSK 90.3 FM, The Voice of KCS, read our blog, We Are KCS, or call (423) 378.2100. We’re social too; follow us on Facebook (Kingsport City Schools), Twitter (@KCS_District) and check out our YouTube Channel (KPTSchools).

Monday, February 20, 2017

Lamplight Theatre celebrating expansion in Downtown Kingsport

LampLight Theatre celebrating expansion in downtown Kingsport
"It's really opened up a lot of opportunities and more space so we can do more things and reach out to the community in a whole different way," said ...

Local housing market begins year with another sales record

Northeast Tennessee's housing market began 2017 with another sales record. It was the 21st straight month of year-over-year increases.

The new year, however, also began amid mixed signals. Consumer confidence is high, despite concerns about higher mortgage rates, and while sales are showing year-over-year gains, the growth trend is slowing. "That's the same thing we're seeing with the region's job creation," said Eric Kistner, president of the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR).

"It looks like our market will enter the spring buying and selling season early," said Kistner. New pending sales were 35% better than January last year. Total pending sales are also higher. "So, unless a significant number fall through, the stage is already set," he added.

Inventory remains tight, Kistner said. New listings made small gains during the past three months, but it's down 24% from January last year.

Does that mean it's a seller's market?

Not quite according to Kistner. Despite the tight inventory and a high sales volume, we have not seen a spike in prices,  he added. "The average January closing was on the market for 148 days. But that's an average. Homes aggressively priced for local conditions are selling much faster. In January, we had 5.5 months of inventory." That's the amount of time it would take to exhaust active listing at January's sales rate. The rule of thumb for a healthy market is six months' inventory. However, the local norm was 10 to 11 months until the recent sales explosion, he said.

There were 363 closings on previously owned, single-family home sales in January, up 8.7% from January last year, and the average sales price of $152,695 was 4.6% higher.

Closings on condominium resales increased by five to 24 in January. The average sales price of $127,442 is $10,463 better than the January 2016 average.

The average single-family home sale that closed in January was on the market for 148 days. Days on the market for the average condo closings was 98 days. That was a low for both type closings, Kistner said.

Here's a snapshot of how January closings and the average sales prices looked in comparison to January last year in the county and city markets monitored by the Trends Report.

Washington Co. TN                                             Johnson City
Closings – 82, down 16                                        Closings – 37, down 13
Avg.  price - $180,452, down 1.8%                       Avg. price - $192,218, down 5.1%.

Sullivan Co.                                                          Kingsport
Closings – 112, up 30                                           Closings – 37, up 8
Avg. price - $157,484, up 13%                             Avg. price - $167,766, up 13.5%

                                                                              Bristol TN
                                                                              Closings – 14, down 1
                                                                              Avg. Price - $118,500, up 18%

Washington Co. VA                                              Bristol VA
Closings – 32, up 12                                             Closings 13, up 9
Avg. price - $167,189, up 22.5%                          Avg. price - $112,230, up 66.6%

Closings – 14, up 3
Avg. price - $94,768, down 21.3%

Greene Co.                                                            Greeneville
Closings – 46, up 9                                               Closings – 13, up 3
Avg. price - $137,997, up 10%                             Avg. price - $127,478, down 13.6%

Carter Co.                                                              Elizabethton
Closings – 29, same as last year                            Closings – 7, down 3
Avg. price - $142,490, up 12.2%                           Avg. price - $181,043, up 35%

Hawkins Co.                                                              
Closings 27, down 6                                                
Avg. price - $115,047, up 8.2%

Johnson Co.
Closings – 1, down 9
Avg. price - $100,000, down 31.7%

Scott Co. VA
Closings – 6, up 4
Avg. price - $171,250, up 41.8%

Wise Co. VA
Closings – 11, up 2
Avg. price - $131,712, down 13%
Lee Co. VA
Closings – 3, no sales Jan last year
Avg. price - $51,012 – no sales Jan last year
NETAR counts city sales as those in a city high school district. City sales data is included in the county data.

March 2: Ready to celebrate Kingsport's 100 birthday?

Kingsport's 100th Birthday Party!
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Kingsport's 100th Birthday Party:
It's a birthday party 100 years in the making! Join us at the Kingsport Farmer's Market at 3:30pm on March 2 for a family-friendly, fun filled event!
A quick glance at some of the birthday celebrations...
Kingsport Rocks - Paint your own rock for the centennial and then find it in town later this year.
Free Carousel Rides - Hop on your favorite animal for Kingsport's birthday.
What's Your 100? - Declare what your 100 will be, receive a special button and get your picture taken.
Photo Booth with 100 Sign - Missed your chance to get your photo with the big 100 sign? Do it at the birthday event.
Free Giveaways - The first 100 attendees will receive a free magnet featuring an archived photo of Broad Street and a special edition 'Nolen Plan' print from Adam Gray with Workspace Interiors.
Centennial Publications - Two authors, Brianne Wright and Vince Staten, will be signing copies of their official centennial publications. Business Journal will also be giving away copies of their special centennial issue.
Centennial Merchandise - Want a centennial shirt? How about a centennial baby blanket? Maybe you need a centennial tote bag? All centennial merchandise will be on sale at the event!
Kingsport City Schools - See a photo collage of 100 photos of Kingsport City School history.
'Walk Through Kingsport History' - A special history lesson will be  featured inside the Farmer's Market. Learn about early Kingsport history, education, industry, community spirit and other topics that make Kingsport unique!
Celebrate with our Centenarians! We have 5 centenarians turning 100 (or older!) with Kingsport this year. Come out and meet these wonderful people. 

We hope to see everyone there - it's sure to be a birthday party you don't want to miss!
Celebrating the Kingsport Spirit 
 to the Legacy sponsors below that are making our signature events very special. We appreciate your continued dedication to our city and for generously sharing your Kingsport spirit!
Copyright © 2017 City of Kingsport, All rights reserved.

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Kingsport, Tennessee 37660

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Jeff Fleming
Kingsport Blog
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.