Outdoor Movie Series, Cinema Under The Stars, Returns To Bays Mountain Park

Cinema Under The Stars is back just in time for St. Patrick’s Day! Come out and celebrate with us by watching Leap Year in the Bays Mountain Amphitheater!

Leap Year will be showing this Saturday, March 17th at Bays Mountain Park. This is the third movie in the Cinema Under The Stars movie series sponsored by Bays Mountain Park and Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union. The series, which started in October of 2017, has sold out at each showing.

“With the success of the first two movies in the fall, it was a no brainer to continue the series this spring” said Mark Kilgore recreation coordinator for Bays Mountain Park. “We are thrilled with the amount of support for special programming like Cinema Under The Stars.”

The movie will be shown in the amphitheater and begins at 7:00 p.m. The gate opens at 6:00 p.m. No outside food or drinks are allowed, but concessions will be available for purchase. Attendees are encouraged to bring a stadium chair or blanket.

Admission is $5 for anyone over the age of 6 and free for children ages 5 and younger. All proceeds will benefit Bays Mountain Park.

Tickets are available for purchase in person at the Bays Mountain gift shop or online at Eventbrite. To purchase tickets through Eventbrite, visit http://bit.ly/2GxwL1Z. For more information, please call Mark Kilgore at 423-230-6357.

New Planetarium Show At Bays Mountain

Look at the big ideas that have guided human understanding of the cosmos and its patterns in the sky! Bays Mountain Planetarium’s latest alternate presentation, A Part of the Sky Called Orion, starts this month.

A Part of the Sky Called Orion looks at how three different ancient cultures viewed the same part of the sky we know as the constellation Orion. The show focuses on the Greek, Egyptian and Inupiaq cultures along with their different star stories and images using the night sky. The program is followed by a tour of the current night sky using our exceptional Carl Zeiss ZKP-4 star projector.

The show was produced in-house by Bays Mountain Productions and is shown at 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays through April.

Also showing through April, is the main feature, Out There – The Quest for Extrasolar Worlds. Bays Mountain Planetarium’s main features are shown at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on the weekends and at 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

Tickets are $5 per person. Children ages 5 and younger receive free admission with a paying adult. For more information on Bays Mountain’s planetarium shows, please visit baysmountain.com or call 423-229-9447.

StarWatch & SunWatch Observing Sessions at Bays Mountain Park

Explore the sky with Bays Mountain’s StarWatch and SunWatch observing programs! Presented by The Bays Mountain Astronomy Club and Bays Mountain Planetarium, these annual programs return this month.

StarWatch and SunWatch are free, family friendly programs offered at Bays Mountain Park. During the viewing, Bays Mountain Astronomy Club members and BMP Planetarium staff will operate telescopes and provide a description of what that telescope is viewing.

StarWatch is a nighttime viewing of the evening sky using large telescopes for the entire family. The program is offered Saturday nights in March, April, October & November starting at dusk. Based on what is visible, typical celestial delights viewed include, the Moon, star clusters, galaxies, globular clusters, double stars, nebulae and much more.

The 2018 StarWatch dates are as follows.

  • March 3rd, 10th – 7:00 p.m.
  • March 17th, 24th, 31st – 8:00 p.m.
  • April 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th – 8:30 p.m.
  • October 6th, 13th – 7:30 p.m.
  • October 20th, 27th, November 3rd – 7:00 p.m.
  • November 10th, 17th, 24th – 6:00 p.m.

During SunWatch, participants can view the Sun using special telescopes at the Bays Mountain dam. SunWatch observations are held on clear Saturdays and Sundays at 3:00 p.m., March through October.

For StarWatch, if the weather does not cooperate, an alternate live star tour will occur in the planetarium theater. The weather typically feels cooler on Bays Mountain than the measured temperature, so guests should dress accordingly.

To visit Bays Mountain there is $5 gate fee per car. For more information on Bays Mountain’s programs, please visit baysmountain.com or call 423-229-9447.

A Spotlight on Women Impacting the Working World

March 8th marks International Women’s Day, which celebrates the achievements of women in all spheres of life. In Kingsport, women hold various positions from Police Officer to Transportation Planner to Stormwater Quality Control Technician.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau of 2016, 3.4 million women live in Tennessee and 1.5 million of those women were in the labor force. Women all across the state push forward every day to pursue their careers of choice.

In Kingsport, roughly 150 women work full-time for the City of Kingsport. Their jobs include many that are considered non-traditional roles for women, such as transportation planner, lab technicians or asphalt pavers.

Women’s empowerment can boost city growth. Increasing women in the labor force expands the talent pool which helps to boost productivity and in turn, city growth.

The strong women in these roles hope to use their career path as an example and inspiration to other women.

“Don’t let yourself or anyone else tell you that you can’t do something,” said Officer Terry Hughes. “If you think it and want it, then you can do it.”

In the most recent Board of Mayor and Alderman election, Colette George was reelected and Jennifer Adler and Betsy Cooper were elected to serve. For the first time in our city’s history, the six-elected alderman are 50% female.

The women that serve and work for the city are no strangers to overcoming challenges. Kristen Steach is the Wastewater Technology Services Coordinator and works every day with different departments within the city, communicating and coordinating services.

“I love my role at the city,” said Steach. “It is challenging and rewarding to work with the various public works groups to determine how to manage our public infrastructure and services.  No two days are the same and I love that there is always room for improvement that will positively impact our city and its citizens.”

Kingsport is thankful that there are so many women breaking barriers and choosing to make an impact in our city. While these women are being recognized today and for International Women’s Day tomorrow, they deserve our thanks every day for the work they do.

“It’s important to pause and celebrate the amazing women who propel this city forward every day,” said City Manager Jeff Fleming. “I want my daughter and granddaughter to know they can choose any job they find rewarding, challenging, and fulfilling.”

Be sure to check out the ‘Kingsport Spirit’ Facebook page tomorrow to meet all the women in the photo!

Photo Caption:  L to R: Amanda McMullen (Stormwater Quality Control Technician), Terry Hughes (Kingsport Police Officer), Robin DiMona (Parks & Recreation Assistant Manager), Kristen Steach (Wastewater Technology Services Coordinator), Lesley Phillips (Transportation Planner), Kayla Evans (Asphalt Paver), Kitty Frazier (Parks & Recreation Manager), Lynn Tully (Development Services Director)

Moving Towards Better

Regions Bank will soon house city hall

A plan that’s been in the making for years has finally been put into motion – consolidating four of Kingsport’s government buildings into one. The Board of Mayor and Alderman voted to purchase the current Regions Bank building, located on Broad Street, to become the new space for residents to take care of all their city needs.

The city purchased the Regions Bank building for $2.82 million to support operational effectiveness, better serve Kingsport residents and help provide more secured courtrooms for the city.

Why move?

“The most expensive option,” says Ryan McReynolds, Asst. City Manager, “is to do nothing.”

The city had an opportunity to consolidate city services and improve efficiency as well as the overall customer service experience and it followed through. Long term, this is a financial savings to the city.

The 4 C’s – Courtrooms, Customers, Collaboration, & Consolidation
  • Courtrooms

Better security, modernization and more support offices will happen in the estimated $2.3 million expanding and renovating of the current Justice Center. Better and more modern courtrooms have been a need for quite some time. The city will consolidate the courtrooms to be only in the Justice Center.

  • Customers

By having most departments, such as customer service, building, procurement, in one location, it creates an improved customer interaction for residents, eliminating the need to travel to multiple city buildings within the city.

  • Collaboration

Working with community partners Regions Bank and local architectural firms, the city is working to improve service to citizens. This is a top priority and what continues to drive decisions.

  • Consolidation

The current city hall building isn’t ADA accessible and in need of repair. The estimated cost to fix the building and bring it up to ADA standards is over $3.1 million. By combining the four current city buildings and over 100 city employees into one, not only does it allow for better efficiency, but also allows the city to put those buildings back on the tax roll for private use.

What’s next?

Renovations to Regions Bank will start very soon, with floors 3 through 6 completed first. Renovations to the Justice Center to increase courtroom space and provide offices will begin in the fall.

Public parking is available at and around the Regions Bank building. On Clay & New Street, there are over 70 spaces. At the Kingsport Library, there are over 50 spaces. At 5 Points, there are over 75 spaces and at Regions Bank, there are over 75 spaces reserved just for customers. Between these four parking locations within close proximity to Regions Bank, customers and employees have over 270 parking spots.

The departments that interact most with Kingsport residents will be located on the first and second floor. Customer service and the building department are on the first floor and and city manager, administration and development services on the second.

Kingsport hopes to have the move complete by summer of 2020.

“We want city hall to remain at the heart of the city and I think this move will continue that,” said McReynolds.

regions bank chart

Youth Baseball & Softball Registration

Kingsport Parks & Recreation Department is now accepting registration for youth baseball and softball. Leagues offered are for boys ages 5-16 and girls ages 5-15. The season will start in April and finish in June.

Registration deadlines:

Monday, March 12     Boys – ages 5-11, Girls – ages 5-12

Monday, April 2          Boys – ages 12-16, Girls – ages 13-15

Participants must live inside Kingsport City limits, attend Kingsport City Schools, and/or own Kingsport City property (business), to be eligible to participate. All registration will take place Monday through Friday at the Civic Auditorium, located at 1550 Fort Henry Drive, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

If you have participated in any Kingsport Parks and Recreation programs before, you may register online online at www.kingsportparksandrecreation.org.

For more information, please contact (423) 229-9459 or JasonWilburn@KingsportTN.gov.

Take KATS Survey and Receive 6 Free Tickets

Share your thoughts on Kingsport’s public transit system and how KATS can improve services by taking a quick survey. Participants then receive 6 free KATS tickets!

Kingsport Area Transit Service (KATS) will offer the ‘Survey for Six Free Tickets’ promotion for one week beginning Monday, February 26th and ending Friday, March 2nd. KATS will offer six free bus tickets per person in the exchange for their time to fill out a brief on-board survey.

KATS will conduct the survey to learn more about public transit use and how to improve its services. The goal is to gather data on current and potential transit usage from passengers.  The objective is to obtain valuable information such as travel patterns and passenger characteristics so that KATS may gain insight on the quality of our services, improvement opportunities, as well as identifying our areas of success.

Surveys will be conducted through a quick one-on-one interview process. Surveyors will ride KATS buses, routes, and be available in the lobby of the Transit Center alongside passengers and complete a tablet-based survey. Passengers will also have the option to fill out a paper form to return to KATS.

KATS operates public fixed route services and Dial A Ride services for those who qualify and live within the city limits of Kingsport.

For more information about KATS, please visit www.kingsporttransit.org.

18-Year Streak for Budget Excellence

Kingsport is pleased to announce it has received Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for its budget.

The award represents a significant achievement by the city. It reflects the commitment of the governing body and staff to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting. In order to receive the budget award, Kingsport had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. These guidelines are designed to assess how well a city’s budget serves as:
• a policy document
• a financial plan
• an operations guide
• a communications device

Budget documents must be rated “proficient” in all four categories, and in the fourteen mandatory criteria within those categories, to receive the award.

When a Distinguished Budget Presentation Award is granted to an entity, a Certificate of Recognition for Budget Presentation is also presented to the individual(s) or department designated as being primarily responsible for having achieved the award. City Manager Jeff Fleming and Budget Director Judy Smith received the certificate.

“This award represents years of sustained effort,” said Jeff Fleming, city manager. “We should never take this commendation for granted. Judy Smith and John Morris do a great job and it’s fitting that they are recognized for exceeding the highest national standards.”

There are over 1,600 participants in the Budget Awards Program. The most recent Budget Award recipients, along with their corresponding budget documents, are posted quarterly on GFOA’s website. Award recipients have pioneered efforts to improve the quality of budgeting and provide an excellent example for other governments throughout North America.

For more information, please visit www.gfoa.org.

Kingsport Parks and Recreation Youth Baseball & Softball Registration

Kingsport Parks & Recreation Department is now accepting registration for youth baseball and softball. Leagues offered are for boys ages 5-16 and girls ages 5-15. The season will start in April and finish in June.

Registration deadlines:
Monday, March 12     Boys – ages 5-11, Girls – ages 5-12
Monday, April 2          Boys – ages 12-16, Girls – ages 13-15

Participants must live inside Kingsport City limits, attend Kingsport City Schools, and/or own Kingsport City property (business), to be eligible to participate. All registration will take place Monday through Friday at the Civic Auditorium, located at 1550 Fort Henry Drive, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

If you have participated in any Kingsport Parks and Recreation programs before, you may register online online at www.kingsportparksandrecreation.org.

For more information, please contact (423) 229-9459 or JasonWilburn@KingsportTN.gov.


Lynn Tully Receives Designation of Certified Economic Developer from the International Economic Development Council

Lynn Tully headshotLynn Tully, Development Services Director for the City of Kingsport, TN has earned the designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), an international recognition that denotes a mastery of skills in economic development, professional attainment and a commitment to personal and professional growth.

The CEcD exam was administered by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) on January 27-28, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. With over 20 years of experience in development and six years in economic development with the City of Kingsport, Tully has worked to encourage and promote retail, industrial and commercial development and operates closely with community partners to present the region as a best place to locate and grow business. Her work includes partnerships for existing business retention and expansions as well as new commercial attraction. She also promotes non-traditional economic development efforts in housing and residential attraction.

The CEcD designation recognizes qualified and dedicated practitioners in the economic development field and sets the standard of excellence within the profession. Candidates must pass a rigorous and comprehensive examination, which has three parts culminating in an oral interview and spans two intensive days. The exam tests a practitioner’s knowledge, proficiency and judgment in the following key areas of economic development:

  • business retention and expansion
  • finance & credit analysis
  • marketing and attraction
  • strategic planning
  • entrepreneurial & small business development
  • managing economic development organizations
  • neighborhood development strategies
  • real estate development & reuse
  • technology-led economic development
  • workforce development strategies

As highly competent economic development professionals, Certified Economic Developers work with public officials, business leaders and community members to create leadership to build upon and maximize the economic development sector.  Excellence in the economic development profession improves the well-being, quality of life and opportunities for individuals, businesses and communities. There are currently over 1,100 active CEcDs in the United States.

Tully was also appointed to serve on the Tennessee Housing Development Agency Board in June of 2016. Board appointments are made by the Governor and represent a variety of backgrounds from finance and banking to real estate and development. THDA was created to promote the production of more affordable new housing units for very low, low and moderate income individuals and families in the state, to promote the preservation and rehabilitation of existing housing units for such persons, and to bring greater stability to the residential construction industry and related industries so as to assure a steady flow of production of new housing units. She chairs the Tax Credit committee which awarded more than $419M in tax credits and bonds across the state to build or preserve affordable rental housing in 2016.