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The City of Kingsport encourages residents to Be Loyal, Buy Local and enjoy a variety of upcoming holiday shopping and entertainment events during November.

Holiday Open House
Thursday, Nov. 5, from 5-8 p.m., downtown Kingsport
The Downtown Kingsport Association presents this official kick-off to the holiday season, with downtown businesses offering holiday specials, refreshments and holiday cheer. Visit Downtown Kingsport Association on Facebook to find a list of participating businesses and restaurants.

The Christmas Connection Artistic Creations Fair
Friday, Nov. 13, from noon-7 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 14, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 15, from noon-4 p.m.
Kingsport Civic Auditorium, 1550 Fort Henry Drive
Now in its 41st year and sponsored by the Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts, this shopping event features creations by regional craft artists and is free to attend. Visit https://arts.kingsporttn.gov or call 423-392-8414 for details.

Drive-in Movie Night: “Home Alone”
Saturday, Nov. 14
Parking lot opens at 6 p.m., movie starts at 8 p.m.
Cherokee Street Public Parking Lot, 100 block of Cherokee Street
Grab a friend and come enjoy the holiday escapades of the classic film, “Home Alone.” Tickets are $10 per car and can be purchased at https://www.downtownkingsport.org. A limited number of tickets will be sold.

Small Business Saturday
Saturday, Nov. 28
Be Loyal, Buy Local every day, but especially on this national celebration of local, independent businesses. Now more than ever, it’s important to support friends and neighbors operating Kingsport businesses.

Cyber Monday
Monday, Nov. 30
Don’t forget that you can Be Loyal, Buy Local from the comfort of your home by shopping at the websites of independent Kingsport businesses.

Additional events coming in December include Jingle & Mingle on Thursday, Dec. 3, and Christmas Crafts Show at Kingsport Farmers Market on Saturday, Dec. 5.

If there are changes to any of these events, participants should check the respective websites or Facebook pages, along with the This Is Kingsport Facebook page.

Those wishing to participate are encouraged to take all necessary COVID-19 safety precautions such as wearing masks in public spaces, observing social distancing and washing hands frequently. Anyone who is sick should not participate.

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Kingsport taxpayers and ratepayers can rest assured that their tax dollars are being managed wisely. For the 20th year in a row, the City of Kingsport Finance Department is bringing home the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting, awarded this year for the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2019.

“I would like to thank all of the employees of the Finance Department for their diligence, commitment and long hours worked to put together an award-winning CAFR,” said City Recorder/CFO Sid Cox. “Receiving this award demonstrates to our citizens and customers that their city is being financially managed and reported using the highest standards.”

Only 6.8% of all cities and counties receive this prestigious award given by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA).  The CAFR has been judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program, which includes demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the CAFR.

The CAFR document is a detailed review of city government (including schools, utilities, and economic development). It covers 37 separate funds and all manner of financial issues from debt to assets.

The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.

“This is a true team effort that involves not only city staff members, but also the Board of Mayor and Aldermen,” Cox said. “We are thankful to the BMA for providing us with the resources to achieve this goal.”

To view the CAFR, please click here.

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The Kingsport Aquatic Center will begin offering swim lessons again this November. The KAC has developed new measures and will limit class sizes to ensure that participants are as safe as possible while in the water.

“Learning to swim is a vital skill for all ages, so we’re very happy to be able to offer lessons again,” KAC Director Kari Matheney said.

At this time, a household member 16 years or older must get into the water with participants of certain classes. Typically the instructor helps each young swimmer to establish trust and comfort in the water, but in order to keep participants safe and socially distanced, this role now falls to a parent or guardian.

All swim lessons at the KAC are American Red Cross courses. The KAC offers group, private, semi-private and adaptive classes to suit you or your child’s unique needs. Weekday classes include eight sessions, either Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday, and Saturday classes are four sessions. Not sure about your skill level? Don’t worry—the KAC can conduct a swim test.

Registration for November lessons will begin on November 2 and close November 7. Lessons begin the week of November 9. If you are an Aquatic Center or YMCA member, weekday lessons are $50 for the first child and $45 per additional child; and Saturdays are $25 for the first child and $22.50. For non-members member, lessons are $60 for the first child and $55 per additional child; while Saturday lessons are $30 for the first child and $27.50 per additional child.

More swim lessons will be available in January after a holiday break. For a detailed class descriptions and registration information, please visit swimkingsport.com or call the Aquatic Center at 423-343-9758.

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In March of 2013, Eastman confirmed its long-term corporate and manufacturing commitments to Kingsport through Project Inspire. Within the project scope, multiyear reinvestments to the Eastman site were determined. One of the planned investments is a road improvement project involving the realignment of Jared Drive.

Kingsport is applying for the State Industrial Access (SIA) program, managed through the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), to support the road improvement project.

“The new route, moving a portion of Jared Drive to run along the South Holston River Sluice and away from the rail storage yard, will allow for unimpeded passage from Riverport Road to Moreland Drive while allowing for Eastman to operate safely and effectively within a more contiguous site,” said Deputy City Manager Ryan McReynolds.

The realignment provides a ‘win-win’ for the community and Eastman:

  • The realignment will provide residents and employees an improved roadway connection.
  • It will allow for the expansion of onsite rail infrastructure to better position the plant for future growth opportunities and investment.
  • Realignment of the road will provide the potential for future enhanced pedestrian options, such as a walkway along the Sluice.

“We are proud to have Eastman headquartered in Kingsport,” said McReynolds. “This realignment maintains roadway connectivity for residents and allows Eastman to move forward with its growth efforts, which is good for both the company and Kingsport.”

The realignment project is set to start in late 2021 with an estimated completion time of roughly one year. Residents should check the city website (www.kingsporttn.gov) and city Facebook page (Kingsport Alerts) for updates and any road notifications during the construction process.

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Keep Kingsport Beautiful, with the support of the City of Kingsport Public Works Department, will hold a neighborhood cleanup in the Lynn Garden community on Saturday, October 24 from 9am to 11am. Volunteers are asked to meet at the Lynn Garden Community Center.

Volunteers are needed to pick up trash, remove debris and help with beautification efforts.  Civic, school and church organizations, Scout troops, businesses, families and individuals are encouraged to be part of this event. This is a great opportunity for students who are looking for community service hours for honors programs and scholarship requirements, particularly Tennessee Promise and TN/VA Scholars students. The Lynn Garden cleanup is sponsored by Republic Services.

Neighborhood groups/associations, churches, schools and businesses are encouraged to organize a cleanup event in their neighborhood and contact KKB to receive free supplies.  Trash bags and gloves will be provided to volunteers.

Keep Kingsport Beautiful is a partnership of the City of Kingsport and the Kingsport Chamber.  An affiliate of Keep America Beautiful and Keep Tennessee Beautiful, Keep Kingsport Beautiful has won more than 70 national, state and environmental awards. Its mission is to involve the community in responsible solutions for a clean and beautiful environment.

For more information, contact Sharon Hayes at shayes@kingsportchamber.org or call 423-392-8814.

 

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leaves fall fun

There are plenty of exciting things to do in Kingsport when the weather starts to get a little chilly. Whether it’s fun crafts or visiting Kingsport’s parks, we’ve got plenty of suggestions on how to have an enjoyable season. Grab a sweater or a scarf and take a look at all of these Fall Fun activities!

Check out the changing leaves:

Why not visit Bays Mountain Park and walk the trails? While you’re there, you can take an autumn barge ride and get a great look at the beautiful trees that fill the park. For more fun, go and visit some of the animals in the park and see if you can spot your favorite wolf. Visit www.baysmountain.com today for more information.

Enjoy Kingsport’s playgrounds:

When the weather cools off, take the family out to one of Kingsport’s wonderful playgrounds, such as Borden Park, Carousel Park, or the BlueCross Healthy Place at the Miracle Field Complex. Fall is the perfect time to play and not worry about getting burned by the slides! Visit www.kingsportparksandrecreation.org to find the perfect park for your family.

Find some fall decor:

To get your home ready for the fall season, stop by one of the local boutiques in Downtown Kingsport. You can find cute decorations all over Kingsport… Even at the Kingsport Farmers Market! Check out what the vendors have for sale on Wednesdays and Saturdays in October, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Take a trip to a pumpkin patch:

A family trip to a local pumpkin patch is one of the best fall activities. Find a pumpkin or two and see if you can carve something spooky… or sweet! If you can’t find a farm near you, try stopping by the Kingsport Farmers Market to grab some great pumpkins to carve at home.

Get ready for the spooky season:

Head downtown for the Downtown Kingsport Association’s showing of a classic Halloween movie: Casper! This fun-filled drive-in movie night will take place on Saturday, October 17, so get your tickets now. There will also be a drive-in showing of Home Alone on November 14, so keep an eye out for those tickets!

Fall food and drink:

Lots of local restaurants and coffee shops have meals and drinks that are perfect for the cooling weather. Go grab a hot chocolate or a warm dish from your favorite downtown spot! Many of Kingsport’s local establishments offer take-out, carryout or delivery, making it even easier to enjoy a tasty treat.

Spend time with family:

Autumn is the perfect time to stay inside and try some fun family activities! Make some crafts to help decorate your home or throw on a sweater and take a neighborhood walk so you can appreciate the changing leaves of the fall season. Check out this Pinterest board full of fun fall crafts and pick one out for your family: http://bit.ly/knc-crafts/.

Check out the ‘This is Kingsport’ Facebook page for more Fall Fun activities being shared throughout the month of October!

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The City of Kingsport will begin its annual bulk leaf collection beginning Monday, October 12.  In order to make the collection process as efficient as possible, citizens are requested to:

  • Place the leaves within 8 ft. of the edge of the street but not in the street.
  • Not block storm drains or neighbors’ driveways with piles of leaves
  • Make sure leaf piles remain accessible by not parking vehicles on top or beside the leaves
  • Take care not to include rocks, sticks or other debris in the pile that would damage the large vacuums used for collection

There are no set days or times for leaf collection. The city is divided into six zones with each street being run in that area before moving to the next zone. Depending on volume and availability of equipment, the general time frame for this free residential service can run as short as a week and up to 3 weeks during peak season. Each zone with be will be serviced at least 9 times during the season and will continue until January 15, 2021. If you bag your leaves, place them with your yard waste and they will be picked up on your regularly scheduled trash & yard waste collection day.

Normally, between 1,800 and 2,000 tons of leaves are collected each year. The leaves are taken to the city’s demolition landfill where they are composted. The composted material is both used for city projects and sold to the public.

For more information on where the trucks are working each day, call the Leaf Line at 423-224-2429 or visit the ‘leaf line’ webpage.

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The beloved Christmas Connection is celebrating 41 years of bringing some of the region’s best arts and crafts vendors to Kingsport.  Whether you are refreshing your home décor, trying to find that perfect gift or treating your taste-buds, the Christmas Connection is here to connect you just in time for the holiday festivities. You can find unique gifts and support artisans in our region with free admission all weekend! 

As the weather turns colder, the Civic Auditorium will be filled with a warm and festive glow to put customers in a holiday mood for shopping.  The sights, sounds and smell of Christmas will surround shoppers as they shop from the region’s best craftspeople, artisans, artists and creatives. A few of the items you will find include Country Crafts, Home Décor, Fine Woodcrafts, Leathercrafts, Handmade Soaps and Lotions, Candles, Jewelry, Christmas Ornaments, Stained Glass, Wheel Thrown Pottery, Fabric Crafts, Needlework, American Girl Doll Clothing, Pet Accessories and Clothing, Dichroic Glass, Handmade Greeting Cards and Paper Art, Snowmen, Santas, Pecan Pies, Candied Pecans, Baked Goods, Kettle corn, and much more!

As you enter the Civic, take your taste-buds over to your right, where you’ll find the “Sugarplum Café.”  This special café is exclusive to the Christmas Connection, providing mouthwatering chicken salad croissants, sandwiches, soups and snacks for the shopper on the go, or those wanting to linger longer for a meal.  Outside there will be freshly popped kettle corn for purchase.  Plus, don’t miss Shane’s Place food truck, offering Philly Cheesesteaks, BLTs, Quesadillas, Breakfast Burritos and Grilled Cheese.   

For our merry 41st celebration, our hostess will be keeping the festivities hopping and music will be serenading the Christmas customers as they shop.  We will welcome the Kingsport Ballet to the main stage with their homemade baked goods for sale.  

Whether you have been enjoying the Christmas Connection for years or you are trying it out for the very first time, this artisan and craft fair has something for you!  Kingsport’s Annual Christmas Connection, a free admission event, is to be held November 13 – 15 at the Kingsport Civic Auditorium and is sponsored by the Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts. COVID-19 guidelines will be observed at the event.

DATES/HOURS:

Friday             Nov. 13            12 Noon – 7 PM

Saturday        Nov. 14            10 AM – 5 PM

Sunday           Nov. 15            12 Noon – 4 PM     

For more information on the Christmas Connection event, please visit http://bit.ly/kport-arts/  or call 423-392-8414.

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The Kingsport Senior Center Main Site, located on the First Floor of the Renaissance Center, will reopen on Monday, October 5. The Center’s hours of operations will be Monday through Thursday, from 8:00am to 3:30pm. All Branch Sites will remain closed until further notice.

As we continue to follow recommendations from the CDC and the State of Tennessee, guidelines will be in place to ensure the safety of all members and staff.

Masks will be required when entering and exiting the building and should remain on until you reach the activity destination.  As you enter the building, you can voluntarily take your temperature, pick up a mask, and a staff or volunteer will check you into the Center. There will be a new flow of traffic throughout the building, which will be labeled with directional floor arrows.  In order to meet the Governor’s requirement of half capacity, the Center has divided the days in which you may attend:

If you were born in an even year, your days will be Monday and Wednesday. If you were born in an odd year, your days will be Tuesday and Thursday. If you are married, and you and your spouse are born on odd and even years, please pick one and attend only those days.

Exercise classes that are normally on Monday, Wednesday and Friday will now happen every day Monday through Thursday.  There will be limited onsite classes with social distancing and capacity limits applying to each class.

Please see below the full list of guidelines for the safe return to the Senior Center:

Reopening rules and guidelines due to COVID-19

  1. We encourage those will compromised immunities to stay at home.
    1. We encourage you to engage with the Center over social media.
  2. Consistently check the health status of both staff and members.
    1. Infrared thermometers will be available for both staff and members to check their temperatures.
    2. At this time, masks are required by the Sullivan County mask mandate and should be worn into the building, after activities and to exit the building.
    3. STAY AT HOME IF YOU ARE SICK.
  3. There will be a “way to get around the building” plan.
    1. Please see the map listed.
    2. You may enter and exit using the main front entrance or the main back entrance. Once inside, please refer to the directional arrows on the floor for getting around the building.
  4. A staggered attendance approach will be used at this time.
    1. On Monday and Wednesday, senior members who were born in an even year will be able to use the facility.
    2. On Tuesday and Thursday, senior members who were born in an odd year will be able to use the facility.
    3. This will be based on the honor system. If members do not follow the guidelines, they may be asked to leave the facility.
  5. Reduced hours to aide with cleaning.
    1. Center hours will be Monday through Thursday, 8:00am to 3:30pm, giving the staff time to disinfect from point of contact and through the building and allow for a more thorough cleaning of all equipment, etc., on Friday.
  6. Social distancing will be required.
    1. An example of this would be only every other exercise machine could be used at the same time and chairs in the computer room and clay studio would be marked at six feet apart. When the chairs are filled, no one else will be allowed in the room. The same guidelines apply with the billiards room; only two tables will open.
  7. There will be a time limit on room usage each day.
    1. Members will only be allowed to spend 1 hour at a time in a specific room to ensure everyone gets a fair chance to use the room.
  8. No congregate meals inside the facility.
    1. Congregate meals will still be present for drive through pick up only.
    2. For more information, please call Deborah at 246-8060.
  9. Only activities where social distancing can be maintained will be allowed to meet.
  10. The card room and lounge will remain closed at this time.

The Senior Center is committed to ensuring the safety all members and staff during these times and looks forward to having its members back!

For questions or more information, please reach out to 423-392-8400. Visit the Kingsport Senior Center on Facebook for the most up-to-date information regarding reopening.

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The City of Kingsport is seeking professional regional artists to paint murals on two overpasses along the Kingsport Greenbelt. The project will consist of two murals, which may grow to more. The suggested theme for the murals are vintage Kingsport or nature you would find along the greenbelt.

“The Office of Cultural Arts is excited to work with Parks and Recreation to bring more art to Kingsport,” said Hannah Powell, cultural arts program coordinator. “The Greenbelt is widely used by the Kingsport community and this project is a great way to brighten the overpasses that the bikers, pedestrians and joggers pass under.”

This project will help make the Greenbelt more inviting by adding artwork to the overpasses along the path. The two overpasses that are up for current artists’ consideration are the Eastman Road overpass and the Clinchfield Street overpass. Artists may submit entrees for one or both overpass murals, but must indicate to which they are applying. One artist will be chosen to paint each overpass. Artists are also encouraged to research the overpasses included in this project.

The chosen artists will be compensated $2500 for their work and paint for the project will be paid for by the city. The deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. on October 30. This is a wonderful opportunity for local artists to share their talent with Kingsport. For more information about this project, please refer to the RFQ: http://bit.ly/rfq-mural/. You can learn more about the Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts by visiting arts.kingsporttn.gov.