kingsport aquatic center logo

The Kingsport Aquatic Center is hosting two conference swim meets this February: the Mid-South College Conference Meet and the AAC Conference Meet. To help you plan your visit to the pools, the KAC would like to advise the public of changes to its regular operating schedule.

Mid-South College Conference Meet (Feb. 6 – 8)
Feb. 5: HMG Competition Pool closed noon to 5 p.m. for swim meet practice
Feb. 6 – 7: Pools open to public 5:30 – 7 a.m.
Feb. 6 – 8: Entire facility closed

AAC Conference Meet (Feb. 13 – 15)
Feb. 12: HMG Competition Pool closed 5 to 8 p.m. for swim meet practice
Feb. 13 – 14: Pools open to public 5:30 – 7 a.m.
Feb. 13 – 15: Entire facility closed

If you are attending either meet to spectate or compete, please be mindful and park in designated event parking areas. The KAC’s neighbor, the Greater Kingsport Family YMCA, will still be open and operating.

For more information on the AAC or Mid-South meets, visit aacsports.com or mid-southconference.org. For more information about the Kingsport Aquatic Center, visit swimkingsport.com or call 423-343-9758.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) has initiated a study to investigate a range of multimodal solutions along the interstate corridors of 40 and 81. This 18-month study will emphasize congestion management, improving safety, maximizing the potential for freight diversion and preserving/enhancing each corridor’s economic benefits. A public meeting will be held on Thursday, February 6 from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm at Northeast State Community College, Basler Library Room L106, 2425 TN-75, Blountville, TN 37617. Click here to view the flyer for more information.

 

kingsport aquatic center logo

Looking for ways to maintain that resolution you made about staying active in 2020? February is the perfect time to mix things up and move in new ways, and the Kingsport Aquatic Center has just the class for you.

This month, the KAC will offer nine different water aerobics classes to suit your skills and needs. “Core Concentration” targets your abs and back, while “Aqua Strength & Stretch” incorporates yoga postures to help with your flexibility. Best of all? Every water aerobics class at the KAC is low impact and led by certified, engaging instructors.

The KAC also has two new classes on the schedule. If you want to make the most of your lunch break, join in on “Power Lunch Bunch” on Wednesdays at noon. This energizing 45-minute workout will keep you energized for the rest of your busy workday! More of an evening workout person? On Mondays and Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m., try “Fun Full Body Workout,” a class that targets everything you’ve got for a physical and mental boost.

The Kingsport Aquatic Center has one-time passes and monthly passes for water aerobics classes. Discounts are available for KAC, YMCA, and Senior Center Members. For the KAC’s full water aerobics schedule, visit swimkingsport.com.

kats logo

In celebrating their ‘love of transit,’ Kingsport Area Transit Service (KATS) is offering free rides for the entire month of February. The promotion includes free rides all month long on fixed route transit buses, as well as a free ticket book given to Dial-a-Ride 65/ADA/Job Assist passengers who ride in the month of February (one 24-count ticket book per registered rider).

In a continued effort to highlight the many benefits of public transportation, KATS continues to offer various promotional events throughout the year in order to encourage people to try public transit. Free rides in February is the perfect opportunity to try the KATS public transportation system at no cost to you. Make sure you take advantage of these deals and tell your friends and family.

The KATS transit center is located at 900 East Main Street. To learn more about KATS and all the services offered, please visit www.kingsporttransit.org.

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 Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization (MTPO) Executive Board on Thursday, February 6, 2020 at 1:30 P.M. in the Kingsport City Hall Council Room at 225 West Center Street in Kingsport, Tennessee. Copies of the agenda and supporting documentation can be found in the MTPO office in the Improvement Building or here. The primary items for this meeting include election of a Vice Chair, adoption of updated Safety Performance Targets for Tennessee and Virginia, review/approval of a Memorandum of Agreement for Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Amendments and Modifications, two amendments to the FY20-23 TIP, review/approval of recommendations for Rock Springs Road, and review/approval of recommendations for the Interstate 26 study. A public hearing will also be held in order to receive comments and questions on these 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 William A. Albright at (423) 224-2677. 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 TTD 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 MTPO en por el teléfono en 423-224-2677.

Bays Final Logo Brown

All outdoor enthusiasts, from amateur to old hat, need to brush up on their survival skills now and then. This February, the Survival Series is back at Bays Mountain Park to give you a crash course on surviving and thriving in the wilderness.

This series is designed to teach you what you need to know to take care of yourself and others while spending time outdoors, whether here at Bays Mountain Park or any outdoor destination you find yourself exploring. We’ll help you feel safe and prepared every time you step outside.

At 1 p.m. every Saturday in February, gather with park staff to learn about a different outdoor survival topic each session.

  • 1 – Trail Etiquette: Learn some unwritten rules to help govern activity and make the experience more pleasant for all those participating.
  • 8 – Lost in the Woods: Learn a variety of ways to finding your way back to civilization.
  • 15 – Winter Food Survival: Learn what to eat from the wilderness during winter.
  • 22 – Hiking with a Dog: Find out what gear you’ll need when hiking with your four legged friend.
  • 29 – Emergency Shelters: Learn about what materials to use when constructing an emergency shelter.

Park guests can purchase tickets for the Survival Series the day of the event at the Nature Center gift shop for $3 per person. Tickets for Park Association members are free (must show pass at gift shop), and all participants should check in at the gift shop. Attend all the sessions to receive a certificate!

All programs except “Emergency Shelters” will be held in the Discovery Theater in the Nature Center. “Emergency Shelters” will begin at the Farmstead Museum, and all guests should dress for the weather and plan on hiking through the woods. Guests who attend all five sessions will receive a certificate of participation.

For more information on Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium, please visit baysmountain.com or call (423)229-9447.

kats logo

Along with opening the doors to a brand new transit facility last June, KATS also acquired a fresh new look. The significance of the new look, including a new KATS logo, is to complement the new transit facility as well as five new vans and four new buses, while maintaining the reputation of a safe, reliable and affordable transportation service for the City of Kingsport residents.

“The opening of the new transit facility was both significant and exciting due to the planning and prospect of future growth and expansion for transportation opportunities throughout the city,” said Chris Campbell, KATS transit director.

A great deal of time and effort on the parts of many individuals went into selecting this new identifying logo. KATS vehicles are our biggest ‘advertising space’ and the new logo needed to be immediately recognizable, yet visually pleasing, to people throughout the community. The color family of greens and whites remained while adding bright blues to the mix. The simplicity of the cat exudes a message of constant motion and within the outline, the illusions of the beautiful mountains and rivers that define this region are seen.

Looking toward the future, KATS hopes to use the remainder of the land that the new facility sits on to build a transit garage that will house all of the current and new vehicles.

“It is important to protect the investment and longevity of these vehicles,” said Campbell. “Having the vehicles onsite is a key component to ensuring safety, keeping the vehicles in a state of good repair, and consistent productivity.”

To learn more about KATS and all the services offered, please visit www.kingsporttransit.org.

Kingsport has long been known as a kind and compassionate community. Many community organizations care for the homeless in our community with feeding programs, shelters and a variety of other ministries. Recently, the situation has become more complex as issues related to drug addiction and mental health impact many who find themselves homeless. In addition, navigating the complexity of shelter regulations and waiting lists for public housing have left more people on the streets.

With support of many community donors, the United Way of Greater Kingsport (UWGK) has long supported homeless-serving organizations, from nationally-recognized Salvation Army and Family Promise (formerly Interfaith Hospitality Network) to Frontier Health’s domestic violence shelter, Safe House, to more recently adding Hope Haven, a local homeless shelter for both men and women, as a member agency. These four agencies have a bed-capacity to serve up to 85 adults and children experiencing homelessness on any given night, with a nightly combined average of 55 in 2018. In addition to these shelter programs, several organizations provide valuable food assistance services, including the Friendship Diner, Kitchen of Hope, Hunger First, Shades of Grace, and nearly 30 other organizations (feedkingsport.org).

Over the past several years, the number of individuals experiencing homelessness in our community has appeared to grow, despite the Point-In-Time Count (PIT) data remaining relatively consistent. The annual PIT Count is conducted each January by the Appalachian Regional Coalition on Homelessness (ARCH) through the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In 2019, this data showed approximately 150 people in our community experiencing homelessness, further specified as 50 sheltered, 46 unsheltered and 38 transitionally sheltered. During the summer of 2019, Kingsport City officials received an increasing number of safety-related complaints from downtown businesses and neighborhood citizens. After hearing and investigating these reports, Kingsport City acted with a proactive approach: In the fall, Kingsport City Manager Chris McCartt, and Kingsport Police Chief David Quillin met with the United Way of Greater Kingsport board members to envision a long-term strategy for addressing homelessness in Kingsport. Initial steps forward included:

  1. Survey the existing agencies that provide services.
  2. Form a Homeless Coalition composed of a cross-sector of community members, community leaders and non-profit organization leaders to identify gaps.
  3. Develop a comprehensive action plan.

Both UWGK and the City of Kingsport share a common vision of a safe and compassionate community that offers a well-resourced path to self-sufficiency for individuals experiencing homelessness. To further this vision, the City of Kingsport, in partnership with the United Way of Greater Kingsport, created the Homeless Services Liaison position to oversee the strategic work of “coordinated entry” improvement. In addition, the City has hired a social worker to work full-time with the Kingsport Police Department who will be working with the homeless population to help get them better access to community resources designed to help them. This position would also engage with community partners in the coordination of these services. Both positions were posted in November and subsequently filled.

Jonathan Anderson is the newly appointed UWGK Homeless Services Liaison. With 13 years of experience in the faith-based and nonprofit communities, Anderson is the founder of Engage Tri-Cities and has worked with local organizations in both Kingsport and North Carolina.

The Kingsport Police Homeless Outreach Worker is now Erin Gray. A lifelong Tri-Cities native, Gray is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) with over 10 years of experience through the Department of Children’s Services and Camelot.

Individuals interested in supporting these efforts can volunteer for the upcoming Point-in-Time Count (PIT) taking place on January 22-23rd. For information on how to participate visit www.volunteer-united.org.

Bays Final Logo Brown

Want to help the birds in your backyard? Join Bays Mountain Park for a bird box workshop this January and February.

Spring will arrive in our area before we know it, and with the warmer weather, nature comes alive again. As the season turns, many birds will migrate through East Tennessee—and some will even call it home.

These birds will need somewhere to live, though. Most birds have specific nesting requirements that need to be met, and many experience a shortage of ideal nesting conditions. That’s where you come in! You can support nesting birds in our area by crafting a bird box where they can raise a family in your own backyard.

Bays Mountain Park will have two bird box workshops focusing on two species of local birds. On January 12, you can build a home for the Eastern Bluebird. February 16’s bird boxes are suited for Wrens. Each workshop begins at 3 p.m. and lasts about an hour.

The workshops are $25 per box, and pre-registration is required. Please visit baysmountain.com for registration links. For more information, call 423-229-9447.