NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETING
AND
PUBLIC HEARING
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN to all citizens of the Kingsport Tennessee-Virginia area and the public at large, there will be a Public Meeting of the Kingsport Area Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization (MTPO) Executive Board on Thursday February 9, 2017 at 10:00 A.M. (EST) in Kingsport Engineering Building Conference Room located 130 Shelby   Street, (downtown) Kingsport, Tennessee. Copies of the agenda and supporting documentation can be found the Improvement Building, City Hall, and Kingsport Public Library in addition to the following website: https://www.kingsporttn.gov/city-services/kmtpo.  The primary agenda items for this meeting are amendments Transportation Improvement Program adding Virginia DOT project funding, Tennessee DOT funding 2040 Long Range Plan Update, IMPROVE ACT information, and overall project updates.  A public hearing will also be held in order to receive comments and questions on this or other items pertaining to the Kingsport Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization. Disabled citizens wishing to attend and needing special accommodations or anyone seeking further information on the MTPO meeting should contact Troy Ebbert at (423) 224-2670.  For persons with disabilities or limited English proficiency, contact VDOT’s Civil Rights Division at 804-786-2085 or by mail 1401 E Broad St, Richmond, Virginia 23219.  In Tennessee you may contact TDOT’s Civil Rights Office at (615) 714-3169. If you have a hearing or speech disability or use a TTY please use the FCC 711 dialing code to access a Telecommunications Relay Service to forward your comment.  Kingsport MTPO ensures nondiscrimination and equal employment in all programs and activities in accordance with Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Si usted necesita la traducción por favor entre en contacto con el MPO en por el teléfono en 423-224-2677.

 

 

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The Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts in partnership with Engage Kingsport presents Carson Peters and Iron Mountain: Premier Album Release Celebration on Friday, January 27 at the Renaissance Arts Center Theatre. The band will host a fan appreciation event from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the Gallery prior to the concert.

The Iron Mountain band entertains audiences performing old-time, bluegrass, and gospel music.  The band consists of Carson Peters, his father Jamie Peters, Eric Marshall and Ben Marshall of Mount Airy, North Carolina and Austin Tate of Marion, Virginia.

For those of you who don’t know Carson Peters, he’s the young lead of the band. He started playing the fiddle at the ripe old age of 3 when his parents bought him a 1/8 size fiddle.  By age 4, he was playing in fiddle competitions and jamming at musical festivals. At 12 years old, Carson is a seasoned performer playing numerous venues with his band throughout the region – Bristol Rhythm and Roots, Dollywood’s Bluegrass and BBQ and WDVX’s World Class Bluegrass concert series to name a few. Carson has also had the honor of playing on national TV as a guest on NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Little Big Shots with Steve Harvey, as well as play with Jimmy Fortune on the floor of the Tennessee State Senate.

The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $15. Tickets are available at the door, online or in advance at the Renaissance Arts Center.

The Renaissance Arts Center Theatre is located at 1200 E. Center Street in Kingsport. Tickets are available at the door or in advance at www.engagekingsport.com or by calling 423-392-8414.

This performance is sponsored in part by a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission. The Tennessee Arts Commission is a state agency that cultivates the arts for the benefit of all Tennesseans and their communities.

carson peters band
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Construction values up $23 million in 2016

Housing is the fundamental building block of a community. New housing is critical to support employers who seek to recruit a talented and globally-competitive workforce. It also provides consumers who drive sales, which support the state’s primary source of revenue – sales tax. Recently, housing in Kingsport, like many communities, is facing ‘the perfect storm.’

First, the mortgage crisis of 2007-2009 created fundamental shifts in lending policy. Next, Tennessee made sweeping changes to its longtime annexation laws and severely hampered cities’ ability to grow geographically (which forced strategies to infill, redevelop and increase the density of housing options).  And finally, the millennials – now 24% of America’s population – prefer urban dwelling, mixed-use lifestyle choices, and many are long-term renters.

In 2016, Kingsport responded well to these new realities. The annual building statistics for 2016 show Kingsport added a diverse portfolio of multi-family and single family housing options. In addition, there is a renewed interest in infill construction, remodeling, and redevelopment. The top five new commercial permits illustrate the diversity of Kingsport’s economy, with investments made in education, healthcare, industry and banking.

The most significant multi-family figures for the calendar year 2016 are below:

  • Multi-family
    • Total of 36 buildings for $27,905,905
    • 22 buildings for Riverbend Villas totaling $13,061,538 (265 units)
    • 7 buildings totaling $9,520,367 for Overlook at Indian Trail (168 units)
    • 2 buildings at Bloomingdale Terrace totaling $1,245,000 (24 units)

A total of 88 permits were issued for new single-family dwellings, an increase of 12 permits from 2015, with a total construction value of $22,290,687. Compared to the previous year, the total value for single-family housing starts increased $3,330,046; while the average cost per home increased from $249,482 to $253,303. Over half of the homes permitted had a construction cost between $200,000 and $400,000.

The most significant impacts for 2016 permits are below:

  • Residential Additions
    • 2015: 30 permits
    • 2016: 37 permits
  • New Single Family
    • 2015: 76 permits
    • 2016: 88 permits
  • New Multi-Family
    • 2015: 0 permits
    • 2016: 35 permits
  • New Professional/Medical/Bank
    • 2015: 1 permit
    • 2016: 3 permits

Housing is one of the main initiatives for the city of Kingsport. In addition to housing growth, the city has looked to expand housing developments through cost reduction options.

Through an investment of $3 million over the next 20 years, over 500 public housing units will be redeveloped and improved. Public housing redevelopment is set to start in 2017 with project completion expected in 3-5 years. The return on investment for the city is over $50 million.

To compliment the public housing improvements, three apartment complexes, The Retreat at Meadowview, Overlook at Indian Trail and Riverbend Villas, have construction underway. These complexes have over 500 units combined to accommodate future residents in Kingsport.

A new section of the Edinburgh housing development will provide 23 new lots for single and multi-family residents. Construction has started and is expected to be completed in early spring of 2017.

Below is a list of existing new home communities with lots available:

  • Hunts Crossing (Colonial Heights)
  • Old Island (Indian Springs)
  • Edinburgh (Rock Springs)
  • Windridge/Rose Gardens
  • The Summit at Preston Park
  • Brookton Park (Rivermont/Fort Robinson)
  • Harmony Ridge (Midfields)
  • Riverwatch (Rotherwood/Allandale)
  • Autumn Woods (Cook’s Valley)
  • Anchor Point (Cook’s Valley)
  • Chase Meadows (Cook’s Valley)

City staff continue to work with developers and builders on appropriate incentives for new construction opportunities and to market our existing new home communities. We have a beautiful setting and quality, dependable builders are waiting to make your dream home a reality!

housing being built

 

Hike Local
Hike Local in 2017: Tennessean features Bays Mountain’s Trails

Ready for spring? Do you want to start your 2017 out with a great outdoors experience? Check out a few of the hikes that were featured in The Tennessean, with one from our very own Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium. These hikes are included in the list of hikes everyone should take in 2017!

  • Bays Mountain Tower Loop, Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium, Level: Easy; Family friendly hike of 2.3 miles with lakeside scenery and the beauty of Bays Mountain backdrop.
  • The Honey Creek Loop, Big South Fork National Area & Recreation, Level: Very Difficult; You’ll need an adventurous side and some experience for this 5.6 mile hike.
  • Fall Creek Falls Trail, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Level: Moderate; Hike this 3 mile round trip hike and be rewarded with a 256-foot freestanding waterfall!

If you’re not ready to travel far to hike, Bays Mountain has over 32 miles of hiking trails of all levels of difficulty. You can pick up a details hiking trail map at the park’s nature center. Rob Cole, park manager, suggested a few tips for those hitting the trails.

“Be sure to take your map. It will come in handy if you’re not sure where your trail is heading. Take drinking water and a cell phone with you. If you happen to get lost, you can always call the nature center. And please remember, Bays Mountain is a nature preserve so respect the environment and stay on the designated trail.”

For more information and to check out a trail map, please visit www.baysmountain.com.

To view the rest of the recommended Tennessee hikes, visit www.tennessean.com

 

Kingsport Aquatic Center’s Indoor Pools land #1 for state of Tennessee

Most people think of swimming as a summer activity, but not here in Kingsport! With the Kingsport Aquatic Center open year round, swimmers and splashers can swim or slide inside when it’s snowing outside.

The Kingsport Aquatic Center was recently featured in a national travel article on MSN. The article featured one indoor pool in all 50 states to help ease the winter chill. With three indoor pools, swimmers enjoy water aerobics classes, water therapy classes or add laps toward their own centennial swim challenge of swimming 100 miles in 2017.

The centennial swim challenge is for swimmers to swim 100 miles in 2017. Swimmers can register at the aquatic center. At the end of 2017, all 100 mile swimmers will get a free t-shirt and be invited to the 100 mile swim party.

The aquatic center is located in Kingsport’s Meadowview district at the base of iconic Bays Mountain, the center provides area residents and visitors with the best in health, fitness and recreation features in a safety-focused environment. For more information, visit www.swimkingsport.com, the Kingsport Aquatic Center Facebook page or call 423-343-9758.

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For the 16th year, the City of Kingsport’s finance staff brings home the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting, awarded this year for the FY2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). Given by the Government Finance Officers Association, this makes Kingsport one of only 8% of government organizations to receive this prestigious award.

A CAFR is a detailed review of city government including schools from a financial perspective. It covers thirty-six separate funds and all manner of financial issues from debt to assets.

Another long-standing achievement is a clean or unmodified opinion. The city once again received a clean opinion on the Fiscal Year 2016 CAFR, the highest opinion a CPA firm can issue. This is the 18th year in a row receiving the highest opinion.

Last year, a material weakness was cited as the city was not closing capital projects fast enough after completion. The city has made progress in that area and now that deficiency has been removed.

This year, the auditors found only one material weakness. The city failed to properly identify expenses related to a federal grant. Even with the complexity of federal grants, the city has already rectified this matter. Although not recording the grant revenue in the correct year is a material weakness, the city was never at risk of losing the grant money. It was a timing issue whether the revenue was recorded in FY2016 when earned or FY2017 when received.

Also the auditors found only one compliance finding. Kingsport City Schools (KCS) failed to properly classify between free and reduced meals. KCS responded by doing an internal review. They manually calculated 500 applications and did not find any that had been calculated incorrectly. They believe this to be an isolated incident.

The Audit Committee Chair and Vice Mayor Mike McIntire noted that the audit was “exceptional” considering we only encountered two minor issues that were easily corrected.

S&P reaffirmed the City’s AA bond rating, and more importantly, received an upgrade of financial management assessment from “good” to “strong” due to financial management policies put in place by the BMA. The BMA adopted a financial management and fund balance policy. They also made progress on replenishing the “rainy day” fund over the past two years.

“Our staff deserves a tremendous amount of praise, because they are doing an excellent job of maintaining consistent reporting at the highest level,” said City Manager Jeff Fleming. “A special thank you to Jim Demming, Judy Smith, Lisa Winkle and Sid Cox for their diligence.”

Heroes Billboard

 

Heroes Billboard

Barbara Lane was hired over 4 decades ago. She still works for the city today.

“I love creating and working on new projects. I enjoy getting things done that will help people get the information they need. I love working with people.”

Barbara Lane is a senior system analyst for the city of Kingsport. Hired in July 1970, Lane has been with the city longer than any other city employee. In her 46 years, she has seen where the city has been and has watched the city grow to where it is today.

After graduating high school, Lane started in the water department as a cashier. There were no computers, no internet, no email – people just paid their bill with cash.

When the city first started using computers in the early 70’s, Lane became a computer operator who keyed in time cards, meter readings and more. Through self-study and a few classes, she learned the skill of computer programming. She started to develop applications from scratch for city departments.

With sharpened programming skills, she moved to information services. This is where she’s been ever since, becoming a Senior System Analyst in 1984.

Her strength is programming. Some of her recent project examples include reports which balance sales tax for utilities and fleet maintenance. She’s also working on a program that will allow city departments to electronically send, receive, and sign documents.

She also writes programs for different applications such as meter reading on iPads and the Click2Gov portal.

Lane is also working on giving the water/utility customers an option of having their statement emailed instead of receiving it in the mail.

“When I look at a project that’s helped people, I feel good about myself and the different departments I work with,” said Lane.

Lane has seen, or been a part of, most of the major growth in Kingsport over the past 40 years. During this time, she’s loved being a part of a team propelling a change in the right direction for the city.

It is because of people like Barbara Lane that Kingsport is where it is today.

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pipes freezing

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Tennessee Department of Transportation is working on their Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) plan at this time and they are asking for input from the public. The ITS system in the Tri-Cities consists of the Tennessee Smartway Camera System, Variable Message Boards (drivers on I-81 see these), 511 phone system and the public traffic advisory radio system.

Please take the survey and share your comments. It’s only 5 questions and a single comment box. The survey can be found here http://www.tn.gov/tdot/topic/traffic-operations-motorists-survey.

TDOT is working on their Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) plan at this time and they are asking for input from the public. The ITS system in the Tri-Cities consists of the Tennessee Smartway Camera System, Variable Message Boards (drivers on I-81 see these), 511 phone system and the public traffic advisory radio system.

Please take the survey and share your comments. It’s only 5 questions and a single comment box. The survey can be found here http://www.tn.gov/tdot/topic/traffic-operations-motorists-survey.

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Kingsport 100’s website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will be capturing all moments from the centennial year!

  • The Kingsport Centennial website is a great way to get involved in all things centennial. The website has information on the events, history and memories of Kingsport. Make your mark on the centennial by submitting memories, important moments to the timeline and other centennial events.
  • The Kingsport 100 Facebook is your go-to for 100 years’ worth of stories and pictures of Kingsport. Get all the information on the four signature centennial events, updates, big news stories and more.
  • The Kingsport 100 Twitter will be sharing the “What’s Your 100?” pledges of local businesses, organizations and Kingsport residents. These pledges give Kingsport citizens a way to celebrate and give back to our community.
  • The Kingsport 100 Instagram is to see the Centennial and Kingsport through the eyes of its citizens. Scroll through pictures of Kingsport in its early days all the way up to pictures of centennial celebrations.

The Kingsport Centennial year is here and 2017 will be a celebration involving many events, experiences and stories of Kingsport. The centennial is about celebrating how far Kingsport has come, and where it’s going. Take part in this special year through our website and social media.

For more information on the Kingsport 100 site or social media, please visit www.Kingsport100.org.