kingsport aquatic center logo

It’s a doggy takeover at the Kingsport Aquatic Center! Registration for the KAC’s 7th Annual Drool Pawty is now open.

On Saturday, October 3 from 1 to 4 p.m., bring your best pals to the pools for some aquatic fun at the Outdoor Water Park. Dogs get to swim, play and make new puppy friends in the toddler play area for a real dog day afternoon.

Admission is $5 per dog and free to owners. Limit two dogs per person, and dogs’ handler must be over 18 and bring leashes with them. Your dogs must be up-to-date on all vaccines, and vaccination records are required to register. While on site please take the health and safety of your fellow participants and staff into consideration and practice social distancing, wear a mask, and wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer frequently.

To learn how to register your pups, visit swimkingsport.com and find the “Special Events” page. Call 423-343-9758 if you have any questions.

library logo

Next time you visit the Kingsport Public Library, you can check out a video game. Just like borrowing a DVD, video games may be checked out by adults for 1 week. The initial collection includes titles for Xbox One and PS4. Switch games will be added to the collection later this Fall.

The collection is currently small, so check outs are limited to 2 video games per Adult library card. Check outs are for one week and there are no renewals.

“We are excited to add video games to the collection,” said Chris Markley, Manager of Kingsport Public Library. “We have had popular video game events, so circulating the games felt like something the community would be interested in.”

To learn more, please visit the Kingsport Public Library or search the library catalog for titles at kingsportlibrary.org.

parks and rec logo

The City of Kingsport is seeking input from individuals who frequently use the current skatepark for recreational activities such as skateboarding, BMX bike riding, or inline skating.

A new and improved Scott Adams Memorial Skatepark is going to be built at Brickyard Park, the city park that currently houses 4 ball fields, Miracle Field and adaptive playground. The future skatepark will follow the latest design trends and incorporate features to accommodate multiple user groups, as well as varied skill levels. The city is seeking input for the park to ensure that it will serve the community in the best ways possible.

Within the recent agreement with Domtar, the city acquired the 40 acres behind the train station, commonly called Cement Hill, and Domtar acquired the land that the skatepark and Cloud Park currently sit on. Domtar will also be contributing to the new skatepark construction per the agreement.

Currently, the city is in the process of acquiring professional design services, in order for planning of the new skatepark to begin this fall.  Public involvement will be an important aspect of designing and implementing the new Scott Adams Memorial Skatepark project.

If you would like to share your thoughts, opinions or just add your name to the list for future input sessions, you can follow this link: http://bit.ly/skatecontact.

For more information about Kingsport’s parks, please visit www.kingsportparksandrecreation.org.

library logo

September is Library Card Sign-up Month, a time when Kingsport Public Library joins the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries nationwide to remind parents, caregivers and students that signing up for a library card is the first step on the path to academic achievement and lifelong learning.

There is nothing more empowering than signing up for your own library card. Through access to technology, media resources and educational programs, a library card gives students the tools to succeed in the classroom and provides people of all ages opportunities to pursue their dreams and passions.

Libraries offer everything from early literacy programs to virtual homework help, helping transform lives and communities through education. At Kingsport Public Library, you’ll find a wide variety of educational resources and activities, including digital resources like Tumblebooks, READs, and TEL databases with online practice tests.

“Libraries play an important role in the education and development of children,” said Chris Markley, Library Manager. “We have library programs that serve students of all ages and backgrounds and we have moved them to be virtual including Storytime, Teen Book League, and a series of digital skills classes in order to continue to meet the needs of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Kingsport Public Library, along with libraries everywhere, continue to adapt and expand services to meet the evolving needs of our community. Since 1987, Library Card Sign-up Month has been held each September to mark the beginning of the school year. During the month, the ALA and libraries unite together in a national effort to ensure every child signs up for their own library card.

This year, DC’s Wonder Woman is embarking on a mission to champion the power of a library card as Library Card Sign-up Month Honorary Chair. In her new role, Wonder Woman will promote the value of libraries and encourage everyone to get their very own library card. Visit the Kingsport Public Library or kingsportlibrary.org to sign-up for a library card.

kingsport senior center logo

The Kingsport Senior Center is not letting COVID-19 slow their programming down, as they continue to offer a variety of programs and classes. They have taken the time to get creative in what they can offer virtually for members during this time. Some of the activities offered include interactive Facebook trivia, Facebook Live events, exercise classes, cooking tutorials and more.

“We are hoping to use our online platforms to communicate better with our members during this time of isolation,” said Shirley Buchannan, director of the senior center. “Developing a ‘Virtual Senior Center’ has been a challenge and is ongoing, but we hope that our senior members and others in the community will find it helpful in many ways. Whether it be exercise, wellness or virtual travel, we are planning something for everyone.”

The Kingsport Senior Center started their YouTube page a little less than a month ago, reaching nearly 100 subscribers and climbing. On the channel, they share all of their virtual programs and classes, as well as funny bloopers from some of their events. You can also find their virtual content on their website and view the monthly newsletter. For more information about the Kingsport Senior Center, please visit their Facebook page or go to seniors.kingsporttn.gov.

library logo

The Kingsport Public Library has installed a StoryWalk® in Glen Bruce Park to encourage reading and outdoor activity for families in an interactive format.

StoryWalk, a system created for outdoor spaces with numbered stations that contain laminated pages from children’s books, can be found in all 50 states and internationally.

“A StoryWalk is a wonderful way for the community to combine literacy and movement as residents and visitors enjoy downtown Kingsport,” said Chris Markley, manager of the Kingsport Public Library. “Glen Bruce Park is an ideal location adjacent to the library for families to stroll and read during a visit. Families can enjoy a book and outdoor time even when the library is closed. Thank you to Kitty Frazier, manager of Kingsport Parks and Recreation, and the Advisory Committee for approving this new installation.”

The first book to be featured is “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt,” as retold by author Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury.

“This book celebrated its 30th anniversary of publication last year,” said Casey Applebaum, youth services senior librarian. “It is a timeless story with an interactive storyline that will get children of all ages out and moving, which made it a perfect choice for the first StoryWalk.”

The library plans to change the stories quarterly, and new books will be announced on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kingsportlibrary/.

Participants are encouraged to share photos via social media and tag the Kingsport Public Library on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Participants also are encouraged to visit the library to check out books to share together in the park or at home.

Glen Bruce Park is located at 414 Broad St., in downtown Kingsport, adjacent to the library. Free parking is available.

Anne Ferguson created the StoryWalk concept, and it was launched in 2007 at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier, Vermont.

cultural arts logo

Black in Appalachia, an initiative of East Tennessee PBS, explores the roots of African-American influence on the history and culture of Appalachia through documentaries, research, local narratives, public engagement and exhibition. The project aims to raise the visibility and contributions of the Black communities of the Mountain South.

In partnership with the Kingsport City Archives & the Kingsport Friends of the Archives, the Kingsport Community History Project worked with the Black communities of Sullivan & Hawkins Counties of Tennessee and Scott County, Virginia to document this important history of the community, make it accessible, and share it with a broader area.

With the help of a Humanities Tennessee Opportunity Grant, one major result of this project has been a series of carefully curated mobile Black history displays for use in public spaces. Much of the material collected comes from residents & churches through Community History Days hosted at V.O. Dobbins Community Center. This project began in November 2018 and will continue into the future, collecting both scans and oral histories from the Appalachian area.

The traveling exhibit will be on display at the Renaissance Center Atrium Gallery beginning Friday, August 28 through November 21. The Renaissance Center is located at 1200 E. Center Street, and the Atrium Gallery is located on the second floor.  Visitors are asked to enter using the back doors, to wear a mask, and to follow social distancing guidelines.

For more information about the Black in Appalachia project, please contact the Kingsport City Archives at 423-224-2559.

parks and rec logo

As summer goes on, more and more people are wanting to get outside and stay active. Exercising outside is a great way to ensure social distancing and keep you and your community safe.

Parks & You

The COVID-19 situation has certainly affected how many residents are choosing to utilize some of Kingsport’s other parks and recreational programming. If you’d like to share your thoughts about this with Kingsport Parks and Recreation, please take this short survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Kingsport_COVID_survey. Your thoughts and opinions will help shape future park projects and help plan for next steps.

New Fitness Equipment Update

Kingsport residents now have an even more accessible outlet for fitness during the current pandemic. Luckily, through a partnership with ETSU Health, there are even more opportunities outside your home to stay fit.

A physician with ETSU Health Family Medicine Kingsport, Dr. Tyler Schmitz, had received a Local Humanitarian Grant from the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) to fund a project he’d thought up in March. This project, the Quarantine Fitness Project, was designed to help people stay active during times when gyms and other fitness spaces were closed. The proposal was to install outdoor exercise equipment along the Kingsport Greenbelt and also create free workout videos that community members could follow along with at home.

The resulting fitness park, located on the Kingsport Greenbelt near the Industry Drive roundabout, overlooks the Holston River and consists of different fitness stations. There stations are funded by the AMSSM grant and installed by ETSU Health while the other stations are funded by Kingsport Parks and Recreation. The fitness park also includes a bicycle tire pump, bicycle maintenance station, water fountain, multiple picnic tables and a shelter. There is ground covering and borders installed around the equipment for added safety, along with a ramp to abide by ADA compliance.

For more information about Kingsport’s parks, please visit kingsportparksandrecreation.org or visit Kingsport Parks and Recreation on Facebook.

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Going for a run? Want to walk a few laps? The newly improved Lynn View Community Center track is ready for you! The track’s improvements have finished up and the virtual ribbon cutting is scheduled for Monday, August 10 at 9 a.m. on the Parks and Recreation Facebook page. The newly laid track has been completely revamped with its new green paint and white striping.

Since it was acquired by the city, over $1M in facility improvements have been invested in the Lynn View Community Center and Park. The new track improvements are the result of a three-year Project Diabetes Grant provided by the TN Department of Health ($450,000 total) to work towards an even better space for community members to gather. The grant will also help provide a new playground in year two and an outdoor basketball/pickleball court in year three.

The Lynn View Citizen Advisory Committee has been actively involved in the facility improvement process. The facility also serves as a Kingsport Senior Center branch site, a space for the Kingsport Model Trains Project, a workshop space for the Kingsport Carousel and a home to many other enriching programs.

In addition to the track, many improvements have been made to the Lynn View Community Center. The gym has been repainted and the floor has been refurbished. The football field now has better lighting, new goal posts and new bleachers. There are several other exciting improvements that have already been implemented and even more on the way!

The virtual ribbon cutting for the new Lynn View track is a great opportunity to celebrate all of the recent successes of Lynn View. City officials will be in attendance and remarks will be made by Parks and Recreation Manager Kitty Frazier, Lynn View Advisory Committee Chair Alan Meade and Mayor Patrick W. Shull. Make sure to tune in on Monday, August 10 at 9 a.m. on the Parks and Recreation Facebook page and swing by the track when you can to test it out for yourself.

Please visit kingsportparksandrecreation.org for more information about Lynn View Community Center and Kingsport’s other parks.

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The Kingsport Farmers Market joins markets across the country in celebrating National Farmers Market Week from August 2 – 8, 2020.

In the midst of a global pandemic, farmers markets—like all other small businesses—have been scrambling to continue operations for the farmers and communities that depend on them. Market managers have been at the forefront of adapting rapid solutions and innovation to protect staff, customers, and community. When conventional food supply chains failed at the start of the pandemic, farmers markets and local food systems clearly displayed the resiliency of short supply chains and interest in local foods spiked nationwide.

“This year has proved the resilience of our vendors, especially our local farmers,” Market Manager Kristie Leonard said. “I appreciate the patience of our vendors and our customers as we all try to adapt to ever-changing guidelines in this new normal. This has not been an easy year for anyone but with the support of our community, the farmers market has been successful.”

National Farmers Market Week is an annual celebration of farmers markets coordinated by the Farmers Market Coalition, a membership-based 503(c)3 nonprofit organization that supports farmers markets nationwide through training, technical assistance, and network-building. This year, the campaign is centered on the essential role that farmers markets play in the food system as demonstrated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Kingsport Farmers Market began in 1977 and currently hosts over 110 farmers and crafters selling a wide variety of products, from fresh produce to local meats, baked goods and handmade crafts. National Farmers Market Week is a celebration of these vendors and the benefits of having local produce and goods available to the Kingsport community.

This year, the Kingsport Farmers Market looks much different than previous seasons. The market opening was delayed until mid-May, a month off from the planned opening date. During that nebulous month, market staff kept a running spreadsheet of vendor contact information and available products. That way, customers could reach their favorite vendors directly to purchase products, which helped vendors to not lose any produce or profits as a result of the delayed opening.

In lieu of the usual in-person programming, the market has turned to social media as a way to provide some of that education fun. This year’s Agriculture Literacy Week in April went entirely virtual, and each day KFM shared agriculture-based educational videos and activities provided by market partners and vendors. The market has also amped up its “Faces of the Farm” social media campaign to highlight vendors and educate the public on the goods they have to offer.

KFM will also celebrate National Farmers Market Week virtually this year, so tune into Facebook and Instagram for a week of learning about the important contributions farmers markets make to communities and individuals.

“Farmers markets are essential to the life and livelihood of millions of shoppers and tens of thousands of farmers.” says Ben Feldman, Executive Director of the Farmers Market Coalition. “But farmers markets don’t happen by accident. It takes the planning, organization, and execution of dedicated individuals and community organizations. That work is harder than ever and farmers markets and the vendors who sell at them need all the help they can get.”

The market is currently open on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. KFM continues to ask customers to abide by the COVID guidelines listed on kingsportfarmersmarket.org so that the market can continue to operate safely.