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Calling all artists, artisans, creatives, and craftspeople of all trades! Applications are being taken for those wishing to exhibit in this 3-day event, taking place on November 13th to 15th at the Kingsport Civic Auditorium.

“The Christmas Connection – Artistic Creations Fair” is sponsored by the City of Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts and is celebrating its 41st year of artistic creations in 2020!  A very well established cultural event in Kingsport, the event hosts the region’s best craftspeople, artisans, artists, and creatives.  People from our region and beyond look forward to The Christmas Connection year after year.

Application deadline is July 1. There is no cost to apply. Christmas Connection is by invitation only.  All applications are reviewed by a selection committee, taking various factors into consideration in order to create a high quality, attractive show having a good mix of artistic and crafting creations.

This year’s Christmas Connection will take place the second weekend in November, due to elections being held the first week at the Kingsport Civic Auditorium.

DATES/HOURS:

FREE Admission to the public!

Fri. Nov. 13:  12Noon – 7PM

Sat. Nov. 14:  10AM – 5PM

Sun. Nov. 15:  12Noon – 4PM

Applications deadline is July 1, 2020.

To access the vendor application from the city website, and for more information visit https://arts.KingsportTN.gov

Vendor Application: https://arts.KingsportTN.gov/2020-christmas-connection-applications/

kingsport aquatic center logo

The Kingsport Aquatic Center is currently hiring lifeguards. If you have a current American Red Cross lifeguard certification, apply today!

The KAC offers competitive pay and a fun, flexible working environment with plenty of room to grow. The lifeguard team has also implemented extra precautions to keep both guards and swimmers safe during this time.

For more information about employment opportunities or to apply, visit swimkingsport.com or call 423-343-9758.

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City encourages only those who wish to comment on agenda items attend

The business meeting for the Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen, which will be held on June 2, 2020, will allow a limited number of public to attend to comment on public hearing and agenda items. However, citizens wishing to make comments on agenda items are encouraged to email, write or use the below link to a google form to share their thoughts.

If citizens would like to attend the meeting, the courtroom has a limited physical capacity of 16. Once the courtroom is full, the public is welcome to wait in the lobby until it is their turn to give their public comment.

Citizens that attend are strongly encouraged to practice social distancing and wear their masks during the course of the meeting.

The meeting will be available via livestream on the city website (www.kingsporttn.gov). Viewers can watch by clicking on the ‘Livestream Video’ box on the homepage. The meeting will also air on Charter channel 192.

The meeting audio will be posted to the city website within two days of the meeting.

Email submission form: Comments or Questions

Google form link for BMA comments: https://bit.ly/BMA_June2_2020

Please direct any questions to 423-440-0442.

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The Creative Placemaking Grant Project is now underway!

After a delay in the project due to the Governor’s Safer at Home Order, the winners of the Creative Placemaking competition are hard at work painting in the alley between Shelby Street and Cherokee Street to beautify this off-Main alleyway. Additional lights will follow to light up the alley at night.

The art is being completed by six artists—Donna Hamilton, Katie Harrison, Kelly Gardner, Savannah Holt, Rebecca Church and Brittany Williams.  All designs were submitted and selected through a jury made up of the Public Art Committee members.

This project brings new color and energy, not just to the alleyway, but also to downtown Kingsport as a whole.  This was a quality project before the COVID-19 crisis, but now it breathes new energy into the artists and their supporters, and in turn the community.  This is a safe outdoor exhibit for all to come see and enjoy.  Come out on a pretty day and see what these artists are painting to represent Kingsport and its community.

This grant project is brought to Kingsport by the Tennessee Arts Commission with support from the Downtown Kingsport Association and Engage Kingsport.

To follow along with the progress of the Creative Placemaking Grant Project, please visit www.facebook.com/KingsportOfficeofCulturalArts to see more.

Bays Final Logo Brown

On Monday, June 1, Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium will reopen the Nature Center and resume some programming, both at limited capacity. Park trails and the animal habitat area are and have been open.

“We want to thank everyone for your support and understanding these past few months,” Park Manager Rob Cole said, “and we ask that you continue to be patient as we take these first steps toward normal operations.”

Beginning June 1, only 20 guests will be allowed in the Nature Center at a time.

  • Only the upper level and gift shop area will be accessible.
  • Guests should follow the designated flow of traffic through the Nature Center and keep visits brief so that others can enter.
  • Bays Mountain recommends guests wear a mask when visiting the Nature Center.
  • Maintain social distance (at least 6 feet) from others and wash hands frequently.

Nature programs and barge rides will also resume June 1.

  • Programs and barge rides are limited to 9 participants (plus program leader).
  • At this time, the planetarium, adventure course and zip line remain closed.

If you feel sick or are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, BMP asks that for your safety and that of staff and others visitors, do not visit the park at this time.

All visitors will need to stop at the gate when entering the park, as is normal park policy, beginning June 1. As a reminder, park entry is $5 per vehicle or free to park members who show their membership card.

At this time, all Nature Programs will be held outdoors (weather permitting). Programs are $3 per person or free for park members. Barge rides will be held weather permitting and are $5 per person or free for park members. Tickets are available in the Nature Center the day of the program. Guests should arrive early to ensure plenty of time to get tickets.

Nature Center Hours and Program Times

Nature Center Hours
Monday – Friday              9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday     11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Nature Programs
Monday – Friday              10:30 a.m., 1:00 and 3:00 p.m

Barge Rides
Monday – Friday              10:30 a.m., 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday     1:00 and 3:00 p.m.

On June 1, the park will resume rentals of the Pavilion at Lilypad Cove to groups not exceeding 10 people. No other facilities will be available for rent at this time.

Bays Mountain is committed to the health and safety of both guests and park staff. The park is following recommendations and best practices from the CDC, the Sullivan County Regional Health Department and Tennessee Pledge. BMP will continue to monitor any developments on the COVID-19 pandemic and how these might affect operations.

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

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Every summer, the Kingsport Public Library invites the community to join the Summer Reading Program. This year’s theme, Imagine Your Story, invites participants to explore the world of stories and imagine where their story will take them.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, there will be no in-person programs for this year’s summer reading program. Instead, all activities will be available through our social media or through activity packs available for pick up at the library. Programs for children include: biweekly story times, author talks, STEM activities, virtual professional performances, and more. Look for special event links on the library’s event calendar on the website.

Activity packs will be available at the library for pick up, with a new pack each week. Activity packs will be first come, first served, while supplies last. They will contain 3-6 activities and all necessary items to complete each activity (some tools such as scissors or glue may need to be self-provided). Activities will include STEM, Arts/Crafts, Literacy, and Play.

Teens can log their reading and be entered to win the grand prize. Teen programs will be Thursdays on Kingsport Public Library Social Media.

Adults can participate in summer reading, too. Log your reading and be entered to win weekly prizes. Participate in virtual book clubs, author talks, NASA programs, trivia or virtual escape rooms.

Looking for things to do as a family? Join the Lego Challenge in June, try out the virtual escape room, or decorate a cake for the July challenge. Be sure to check the events calendar on the library webpage so you don’t miss out on the fun!

Want to join the fun? Readers of all ages can sign-up at www.kingsportlibrary.org and track their reading between June 1 and July 24. For help signing up or for more information, please visit www.kingsportlibrary.org or call 423-229-9366.

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Kingsport Public Library, along with the majority of other area libraries, plans to begin a curbside pickup system on Monday, June 1.

Curbside service will be by appointment only. Appointments can be made by visiting the event calendar at www.kingsportlibrary.org or by calling 423-229-9465. Curbside appointments are offered Monday-Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and MUST be made by 3:30 p.m. for same day pickup.

Curbside pickup information:

  • Items must be placed on hold in order to be picked up. Place holds by logging in to your account on kingsportlibrary.org or by calling 423-229-9465
  • Limited to 10 holds per card
  • Items placed on hold are not guaranteed to be available
  • Schedule an appointment for curbside pickup by visiting the event calendar at kingsportlibrary.org or by calling 423-229-9465
  • Offered Monday-Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m
  • Appointments must be scheduled by 3:30 p.m. for same day pickup

Curbside procedure:

  • When you arrive at the Library, park in spot on New Street and call 423-229-9366 to let us know you have arrived
  • Be ready to tell us who you are picking up books for
  • Let us know the make, model, and color of the vehicle
  • Open your trunk
  • When the staff member brings out the books hold your driver’s license up to the window so they can verify your identity
  • Books will be placed in the trunk

**All returns MUST be placed by you in the outside book returns, staff members are unable to take your returns at curbside delivery

**No donations are being accepted at this time

**Staff are unable to collect fines at this time

If you have any questions about the new curbside pickup system, please visit www.kingsportlibrary.org or call 423-229-9366 during regular library hours.

[UPDATE: At the June 16, Board of Mayor and Aldermen business meeting, the FY 20-21 budget was passed.]

City Manager Chris McCartt has presented a balanced budget with no tax increase. In order to balance the FY-21 budget amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a very conservative approach was taken to ensure Kingsport could maintain consistency in service delivery to its residents.

McCartt is required to present a balanced general fund budget each year. He’s anticipating a $5.5 million loss in General Fund revenue. To balance the budget, over $3.9 million in cuts were made, along with transferring $1.6 million from the General Fund unassigned fund balance.

Budget cuts were made from programs, training, temporary labor and special programs. All unfilled vacancies for city employment are being held and there will be no step increase or cost of living adjustments for city employees.

“The budget isn’t a one-time event, but an ongoing process,” said McCartt. “We will be monitoring our revenues and expenditures, while also keeping an eye on the economy. If we see better revenue than what we’re anticipating, we will amend the FY-21 budget to reflect those positive increases.”

City staff is continuing to manage $20 million in general government capital projects, such as the pump track design for the Brickyard Park property, city park improvements at Lynn View, planetarium renovations and continuing the sustainable paving plan. These projects use money that’s been borrowed previously or use grant funding so they will continue to progress as scheduled.

Next steps include passing the FY-21 budget during the June 2 and 16 Board of Mayor and Aldermen meetings.

For more information regarding the budget presentations, please go to www.kingsporttn.gov and search ‘budget.’

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The popular on-demand film streaming service, hoopla digital, is now available for free at Kingsport Public Library. Library card holders can access over 600,000 titles (audiobooks, eBooks, comics, movies and TV). Content can be streamed from any computer, television, mobile device or platform by downloading the hoopla digital app for iOS, Android, AppleTV, Chromecast or Roku.

hoopla digital has pioneered a unique model that allows patrons to borrow content immediately, removing artificial availability constraints and maximizing the power of digital content and Internet distribution. Technologically, hoopla digital focuses on the latest browser, phone, tablet, and TV products to deliver the best possible experience to each user – the public library patron.

“We are excited to make this resource available to the community,” Kingsport Public Library manager Chris Markley said, “hoopla offers a variety of formats, music CDs, downloadable e-books, audiobooks, comic books, movies, and television programs so there really is something for everyone. But best of all, hoopla allows instant access to all content without waiting lists or holds. Another advantage is that the hoopla app allows you to download these albums, movies, or books to your smartphone or tablet computer wherever you have Wifi access so that you can watch. listen, or read them later without Internet access. Users can borrow and download up to 4 items per month on their account.”

The hoopla digital collection includes fan favorite movies, newly released albums, New York Times bestselling titles and exclusive STEAM educational content to enhance each user’s experience. Kingsport Public Library is excited to provide this new resource that the community will be able to use from home.

If you have any questions, you can call 423-229-9465 during normal library hours. For more information, please visit kingsportlibrary.org.

The Tri-Cities Military Affairs Council (TCMAC) is hosting a Memorial Day event for local veterans at J. Fred Johnson Park at the Veterans Memorial on May 25 at 11:00 a.m.

Attendees are strongly encouraged to continue the standard best practices. These include:

  • Social distancing – please keep the appropriate 6 ft of separation between you and others
  • Facial coverings – please wear the appropriate facial coverings for the duration of the event; it is best to put your mask on before leaving your vehicle and removing once you return to your vehicle

“We host this event to always honor and remember those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our great nation,” said Ernie Rumsby, President of Tri-Cities Military Affairs Council.

If anyone would like to watch the event from their home, they can tune into the City of Kingsport’s YouTube channel or watch on Facebook on the TC-MAC page.

For more information, please call 954-687-6943.