Follow by Email

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Happy 100th Birthday, Kingsport!





Happy 100th Birthday, Kingsport!
Several birthday activity stations lined the Kingsport Farmer's Market, including one to paint a centennial rock, pick up centennial merchandise, ...


t



Kingsport cracking down on code enforcement


...opened most cases in city's history


Kingsport Codes Enforcement working with police dept., opened more than 1000 cases of property ...
KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL) – The city of Kingsport found more than 1,000 properties violated maintenance codes in 2016. Kingsport Codes Enforcement ...




Highland eyesores demolished





Nonprofit demolishes Highland eyesores for town house project
Eastern Eight has invested more than $1 million in single family houses throughout the Kingsport area, most notably four houses in the Riverview ...


 



Kingsport receives grant for downtown improvements, entrepreneurship




Kingsport receives state grant for improvements, entrepreneurship in downtown
Kingsport's portion of the grant will be used specifically to host entrepreneur training classes and grant awards to participants in a pitch contest.


Borden Park getting facelift this summer




Borden Park getting facelift this summer
KINGSPORT — Borden Park, one of the city's oldest parks, is slated for improvement this summer, the first of three phases that will be taking place ...



Why Kingsport?




Why Kingsport?
Seven out of 19 conference tournaments have been held in Kingsport, Tenn., and John Sullivan, former president and current commissioner of the ...




Kingsport spirit shines brightly as city turns 100





Kingsport spirit shines brightly as city turns 100
KINGSPORT — Everyone talks about the Kingsport spirit. How the people of the community over the years have come together to face challenges, ...




Borden Park improvements planned

‘Neighborhood Listening Post’ at Borden Park

Kingsport, TN – Borden Park hosted a ‘Neighborhood Listening Post’ on Wednesday, March 8 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. During the meeting, attendees found out more about park development, programming and heard from Mayor Clark about the fight against diabetes and his vision for ‘live, work, and play’ in Kingsport.

Project Diabetes is funded through a community grant from Tennessee Department of Health. Grants are awarded to community partners with goals of reducing overweight and obesity risk factors. At the meeting, attendees will learn about and acquire the tools needed to decrease their diabetes risk.

The new walking trail, open space plaza and resurfacing of the basketball court is part of Phase 1 of the Project Diabetes grant. It is estimated Phase 1 will be completed in June.

UT Extension will be onsite to talk about healthy lifestyle options and local wellness professionals will be available to answer questions about available fitness and wellness programs.

###

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.”



Adrienne Batara
Marketing and Public Relations Specialist
City of Kingsport
P: 423-343-9791
C: 423-440-0442
225 W. Center Street
Kingsport, TN 37660
www.kingsporttn.gov


Highlighting Heroes - Kingsport Archivist Brianne Wright


Archivist Saves Kingsport’s Past for the Future
Brianne Wright leads the way in preserving our city’s history

Kingsport, TN - The lower level of the Kingsport Public Library contains Kingsport’s heritage and the woman who holds the key is Brianne Wright, the archivist for the City of Kingsport.

Her department has been important over the years, but never as important as during our city’s centennial year. Through her archiving efforts, the city is able to remember the past while looking to the future.

“I’m very proud to have helped the archives blossom, grow and become so extensive,” said Brianne Wright.

Brianne started working in the Archives in 2007. Her job is to preserve and protect the city’s history as much as possible for our current and future residents. Her and a few dedicated volunteers work to keep the archives running smoothly.

During her years as archivist, Brianne has collected meaningful pieces of Kingsport history. Photographs, artifacts and documents from residents, businesses and organizations fill the shelves of the archives.

“The City Archives has a large impact on the community because it’s where we keep our community history for future generations to enjoy,” said Brianne.

Through her archives work, she’s become very passionate about this community. Families that recognize their elders in a photo that’s been published or put on display call and email Brianne.

“I love hearing from family members that recognize someone in one of the archive photos,” Brianne said. “It’s really awesome when you help make those family connections.”

Photo displays of sporting events, graduating classes and local landmarks can be found in city hall. She's also written two books about the city’s unique history.
Her most recently published book and one of the official centennial publications is ‘On This Day In Kingsport History.' The book shares 365 historical facts or events that happened in Kingsport, one for each day of the year, over the past 100 years.

The archives showcase the rich history surrounding our Kingsport community and how the roots of the community still touch us today. Brianne helps keep our great city alive through her job every day.

To view Brianne’s video, please visit www.kingsporttn.gov and find Brianne on the homepage. For more information Brianne’s book or to purchase a copy, please visit the Kingsport Public Library located at 400 Broad Street or online at www.kingsportlibrary.org. To learn more about the Archives of the City of Kingsport, please visit www.kingsportlibrary.org/archives or call 423-224-2559.
###
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.”



Adrienne Batara
Marketing and Public Relations Specialist
City of Kingsport
P: 423-343-9791
C: 423-440-0442
225 W. Center Street
Kingsport, TN 37660
www.kingsporttn.gov


Utility Improvements Continue in Colonial Heights

Update: Utility Improvements Continue in Colonial Heights

Kingsport, TN - The City of Kingsport will continue water, sewer, stormwater, and road improvements in the Colonial Heights area for the next 10 months. Sanitary sewer installation work will begin on Monday, March 13, and continue through December. The current focus area of this work will be the area bordered by Meadow Lane, Lebanon Road, Chesterfield Drive, Fort Henry Drive, Green Hills Drive, Tall Oaks Court, and Interstate 81.

East Tennessee Turf and Landscape will be the contractor performing this work for the city. The construction zones will be marked by signs and directed by flaggers – when required.  Drivers are asked to use caution in the area during this time.

If you have any questions, please contact Hank Clabaugh with the City of Kingsport Engineering Division at 229-9324 or hankclabaugh@kingsporttn.gov. Thanks for your cooperation during this improvement process.
###

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.”


Adrienne Batara
Marketing and Public Relations Specialist
City of Kingsport
P: 423-343-9791
C: 423-440-0442
225 W. Center Street
Kingsport, TN 37660
www.kingsporttn.gov


Kingsport's road building priorities

Transportation Update
Transportation Update 
Michael Thompson gave an update on the road projects in the capital improvement plan. Many of our projects leverage state and federal dollars, so the city is able to complete more projects with their assistance. Some of the projects include Rock Springs Rd, Island Rd, Fort Robinson Bridge replacement, Sullivan St and more.

For more information regarding the projects, please click here.

Times-News article http://www.timesnews.net/Local/2017/03/12/BMA-to-weigh-funding-for-transportation-projects

Kingsport BMA's unprecedented commitment to paving and beautification

Sustainability Update
 
Sustainable Paving & Beautification 

Ryan McReynolds presented an update on the progress of the new sustainable paving plan and recent beautification maintenance at our corridors. Ryan began with a "thank you" to the BMA for their support of the sustainable paving plan. The city now has a funding source that matches their asset needs. Road paving, over a course of 5 years, will go from 50-55 years replacement to the industry standard of 20-25 years. A huge improvement for Kingsport!

The next time you are taking Exit 4 off Wilcox Dr, please take a look at the new landscaping entrance. It is a beautiful way to welcome people to Kingsport.

For more information regarding the update, please click here.

The Academic Village welcomes ETSU

ETSU joins KCHE
 
Kingsport Center for Higher Education Welcomes ETSU
The Higher Education Commission and the Board of Mayor and Aldermen met today to approve East Tennessee State University officially joining the Kingsport Center for Higher Education (KCHE).

ETSU has a long history of success in Kingsport with both the Allandale campus and Press Building campus in downtown Kingsport. Success in both locations and the strong partnership with the city has led to ETSU’s decision to join KCHE.

For more information regarding the Kingsport Academic Village and class offerings, please go to www.LearnKingsport.com.

First Presbyterian Church turns 100

First Presbyterian Church Turns 100!
L to R:  Carol Dixon, Jane Harris, Jane Boyd, Rev. Sharon Amstutz, Jeanne McClure, DeeDee Dietrich, Mayor Clark
 
First Presbyterian Church Turns 100!
The First Presbyterian Church, located on the iconic Church Circle in Kingsport, was founded on March 18, 1917, just days after the city of Kingsport. The church started with just 52 members who wanted to establish a 'southern' Presbyterian Church. Today, the church has 575 members and participates in many community outreach programs such as Meals on Wheels and the Clothes Closet. A back-to-school party and Christmas party are held annually at the Clothes Closet for families.

Abroad, First Presbyterian sponsors missionaries in Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Guatemala. Through Living Waters for the World, they install water purification systems for safe drinking water in these communities.

Thank you First Presbyterian Church for your community dedication!

For more information about their centennial event, please click here.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

My remarks on Kingsport's 100th Birthday

100 years.  I’ve been thinking a lot about what that means.  In many ways it’s short.  In others, long.

My grandmothers lived to be 103 and 102.  I often had lunch with my maternal grandmother and I was fascinated by her stories of growing up on the farm.  She told me how she yearned to go to school, she was a sponge for knowledge, and she would read any book she could get her hands on.  Eventually she became a member of the 2nd class ever to attend ETSU.  I asked how she traveled there from her homeplace in McPheeter’s Bend.  Well, her answer surprised me.  It certainly wasn’t Interstate 26!   She said they ferried the river and caught the train at Church Hill, went to Gate City and changed trains, went to Bristol and changed trains, then on to Johnson City.  I asked why she didn’t come through Kingsport.  She said, “There wasn’t a Kingsport.”  In one person’s lifetime, all of the industries, businesses, homes, streets, sidewalks, highways, schools – EVERYTHING – was built.  

Walter Smith, president of Kingsport Press, claimed that when the railroad was first completed, an arriving visitor would have seen a meadow rolling down to the banks of the Holston River, a scrawny cow or two, a cornfield, a log cabin on a hillside, and the muddy stagecoach road disappearing over the hills to Bristol, Virginia.   

I am reminded of the impact this city has had on so many souls.  Like so many others, my family’s life was changed because there is a Kingsport. 

My mom is from Hawkins County, my dad from Southwest Virginia.  Thousands of others just like them came to Kingsport seeking a better life.  The new residents weren’t just from this region.  They were met by scientists, entrepreneurs, and capitalists from literally all over the United States and the world.  

The Valks relocated from Holland after the devastation of world war and started Evergreen Garden Center. 

Hanne Sobel sent me the sweetest handwritten note and donation for the replacement of American flags on Center Street.  She told of her Jewish family’s terrifying experiences in Denmark and articulated so eloquently what it means to live in the land of the free.

And my mom’s lifetime best friend, Elizabeth Jones, is the daughter of Syrian refugee Ollie Shadeed who settled in Kingsport and owned a restaurant on Five Points. 

People came to Kingsport for one reason – the opportunity to build a better future for themselves and their families in a community where everyone was a newcomer and your race, ethnicity or religion didn’t seem matter as much as your willingness to work hard.  

March 2nd isn’t just Kingsport’s birthday, it’s also my son’s.  Just like his aunts, uncles, mother, sister, and I, he was born at Holston Valley Hospital.  He reaped the benefit of one of the many institutions that were envisioned, planned, and funded by the Kingsport Spirit.  And so goes the circle of life.  Our family, like so many others, inherited a city with exceptional schools, incredible parks, strong volunteerism, charitable conviction, civic-minded businesses, an infectious community pride, and a can-do attitude.

Jim Harlan, chair of the Kingsport Community Foundation said, “You’re here today because someone came before you to lay the groundwork…someone helped you…someone prayed for you – and it’s your responsibility to the same for those to come.”

When you think about the odds this fledgling city faced, the Kingsport Spirit is even more pronounced.  

Given the tumultuous times, it’s amazing there’s a city here at all.  In 1910, private entrepreneurs set out to build a town.  My early office was in The Improvement Building, which was built off Broad and off Main because, being good entrepreneurs, those prime spots were for sale.  The Improvement Building has 4 vaults, because there was no bank, no post office, and no other fireproof place to store important documents and it was a day’s trip to Blountville or Bristol.  Four years later, World War I broke out.  Twelve years later, the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began.  Some of the banks that had only been open a year or two, failed and closed forever.  Ten years later, World War II consumed the globe again.  Those were trying times. 

At every turn, in every situation, Kingsport citizens have risen to the occasion and overcome.

Whether it be the groundbreaking founding of Douglass, the largest African American high school between Roanoke and Knoxville in 1928, to the Santa Train in 1942, Bays Mountain Park in 1971, Fun Fest in 1980, Kingsport Tomorrow in 1989, MeadowView Convention Center in 1996, the Academic Village in 2002, the transformation of Kingsport Press in 2007, or the recent OneKingsport initiative – Kingsport is willing to dream – it’s willing to work – and it’s willing to leave a legacy.

I consider it one life’s greatest blessings to be able to give back to the place that made, shaped, and nurtured – me.  It’s an even greater blessing to share this journey with my wife and children – and hopefully one day, my grandchildren.  Wherever I go, people remind me, “There’s something different about this place. Don’t ever take that for granted.”  Whether you’ve been here 100 years or 100 days – I hope you, too, feel THE KINGSPORT SPIRIT.  It will leave an indelible mark on your soul that you’ll carry wherever you go. 

But cities don’t happen by chance.  Kingsport is known as the Model City because it was the first in Tennessee – and second in the nation - to adopt the Model City Charter which established the city manager form of government.    A wise man once said, “A city’s progress should be measured in quarter centuries, not quarters.”  As I’ve said to many elected officials over the years, not much gets completed in one term.  The same holds true for city managers.  We each take a turn tilling the soil and planting seeds that will be harvested by those who come after us.  So it seems fitting today that we recognize those managers who are with us today.  I’ve had the privilege to work for each of them and they profoundly shaped my career and our community. 

Pete Connet
John Campbell

Today we stand at a crossroads.  The original vision was fifty thousand residents.  Today, Kingsport’s population stands at 53,028.  Are we finished?  Do we rest on the successes of the past, or do we boldly dream and build for the future.  

I already know the answer.  We’ll keep sowing those seeds for future generations.  It’s what we do.  

Because the Kingsport Spirit is timeless. 
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 www.MeadowViewResort.com 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 www.BestPlaces.net). 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.