The 20th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Parade

KINGSPORT – The 20th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Parade will be held on Monday, January 20, 2020 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.  Parade participates will need to assemble at 11:15 a.m. at the intersection of E. Sevier & Center Street (Formerly Rikki Rhoton Allstate Insurance Co.’s Parking Lot).

The parade route will follow Center Street and end on Shelby Street (City Parking Lot between Kingsport City Hall & The Justice Center). The theme is “ANSWER TO RACISM IS THE LOVE OF CHRIST.”  If you would like to enter a car, float, church/business van, bus, truck, other exhibits or take a 20 minute walk during lunch in the parade, please contact Elder Gwen Collins (TVFAR) at (423) 753-2345 or General Overseer Ronnie Collins (JGII) at (423) 956-0675 or email: gacssccc@aim.com or rcollins.j316@gmail.com

If you would like to contribute to some service projects from January 20 – March 31, 2020 they are as follows:

  • Butterball Turkey, Can Goods, Mac & Cheese, & Rolls $10/family (My Brother’s Keeper & Food City)
  • Tools-For-School $7/child (Joshua Generation & Office Depot)
  • Diapers & Wipes $10/baby (Putting Babies First & Upper East TN Human Dev. Agency)

Make your tax deductible contribution payable to: JGII, P.O. Box 3390, Kingsport, TN 37664-3390.

Parade sponsors include Food City, City of Kingsport, Office Depot, Joshua Generation (JGII), My Brother’s Keeper, Putting Babies First, Tennessee & Virginia Fellowship Against Racism, New Vision, H.O.P.E., & Upper East Tennessee Human Development Agency. Please take time to help bring about positive change in the community in which we live and help us Change a Generation

“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” 3 John 2

Love, Peace, Joy, Health, Prosperity, Wealth, & The FAVOR Of GOD Overtake YOU.

MLK DAY 2020 PARADE flyer

 

 

 

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Kids can kick off the New Year at the Let’s Glow Swimming Party at the Kingsport Aquatic Center!

On Saturday, January 4, children ages 9 to 14 are invited for a special night where the KAC will dim the lights in our indoor facilities and fill the pools with glow sticks of all shapes and sizes. From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., children can swim in the “glow pools” and play on inflatables while their favorite music plays over the loudspeakers.

Children are encouraged to bring their own glow sticks to the party. It’s the perfect way to mark the end of winter break and the beginning of the New Year!

This is a kids-only event for ages 9 to 14. Supervision will be provided by the KAC staff, and parents are welcome to drop kids off or relax in the lobby. Preregistration admission is $7 per swimmer, and admission at the door is $10.

Check-in begins at 6 p.m. Parents will need to fill out a waiver and are strongly encouraged to do so prior to the event to make entry faster. Tickets are available on the Special Events page at swimkingsport.com.

For more information, please call 423-343-9758.

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Last year, the Kingsport Aquatic Center’s 100 Mile Swim Club set off on the Ultimate “Swim” Trip, its biggest challenge to date. The journey continues in 2020, and the KAC wants your help to make it to the finish line!

The original route is a 13,580 mile loop that stretches from Acadia National Park in Maine to the San Andreas Fault in California and every major U.S. landmark in between. Participants worked together to “travel” across the country and hit as many of the 50 landmarks as possible before the end of 2019. The results are in: the 100 Mile Swim Club covered more than 6,500 miles and visited 20 landmarks!

“We don’t quit,” said KAC assistant director Chassy Smiley, “so we decided to continue the challenge into 2020. The club has really enjoyed this theme and learning about each landmark along the way, so we thought, why stop?”

There’s another 7,000 miles and 30 landmarks to swim to this year. Participants will swim at their own pace throughout 2020, and the KAC staff will keep track of individuals’ miles and the club’s collective progress. A map in the KAC lobby displays the entire route as well as fun facts about what landmark the club has made it to most recently.

If this challenge sounds daunting, remember the 100 Mile Swim Club’s motto: Every mile counts, every yard matters! The Ultimate “Swim” Trip is possible only through collective effort.

Interested swimmers can join the club for $10 for KAC members and $20 for nonmembers. All participants will receive a 2020 100 Mile Swim Club t-shirt, and anyone may join at any time throughout the year.

To sign up for the 100 Mile Swim Club, visit the Kingsport Aquatic Center front desk or call (423)343-9758. For more information about the 100 Mile Swim Club, visit https://www.swimkingsport.com/centennial-swim-club/.

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Start the New Year off on the right foot with Bays Mountain Park’s annual First Day Hike!

Join Bays Mountain Park staff on a moderate guided hike around our frost-covered lake. Following along the Lakeside Trail, hikers will complete an energizing 2.75 mile route on a crisp, quiet New Year’s morning. Please dress appropriately for the weather and bring a water bottle.

“This hike is a perfect way to get energized for the rest of the year,” said Senior Naturalist Megan Krager. “It’ll feel great to already start checking off your resolutions on day one.”

While the First Day Hike is free to attend, you must preregister. Bays Mountain Park will be closed to the public on January 1, so only those registered for the hike will be allowed in. The hike is limited to 50 participants. Please register by December 29.

The First Day Hike begins at 10 a.m. in the parking lot outside the Nature Center. Expect to hike until noon.

Bays Mountain’s First Day Hike is part of a nationwide initiative led by America’s State Parks to encourage people to get outdoors. On New Year’s Day, hikers in all 50 states will hit the trails of their local parks. More than 55,000 people of all ages participated last year, hiking a collective 133,000 miles—more than 50 times the length of the continental U.S.

To register or for more information, please call (423)229-9447. To learn more about Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium, visit baysmountain.com.

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Get ready to brave the icy waters for a great cause! It’s time to start picking a charity or organization that you’re passionate about and encouraging your friends and family to support you in the Kingsport Aquatic Center’s 3rd Annual Polar Plunge.

On New Year’s Day, jump into the KAC’s frigid outdoor pools—for charity, of course. The goal of this year’s Polar Plunge is to raise $5,000 collectively for various charities. There is no charge to participate in this event, but the KAC does encourage everyone to raise at least $50.

To join, please create a profile on the KAC’s GoFundMe Charity page at http://bit.ly/KAC_plunge and make a donation to the charity or charities you want to take the plunge for. Check in for the Polar Plunge is in the KAC lobby at 12:45 p.m. on January 1, 2020.

Here are some basic rules and regulations:
– Anyone under the age of 18 must have parent or guardian’s permission
– No pushing other participants into the water—all participants must enter the water by their own choice (it is not required to submerge your entire body)
– No dry suits or wetsuits
– No donations are taken on site by the KAC staff
– No “endurance” contests will be permitted—participants must jump in and get out
– However, yelling is optional

For the more competitive participants, challenge your friends and family to a contest to see who can raise the most money! This is a great—and crazy—way to have fun while donating toward a cause that is close to your heart. What better way to kick off the New Year?

If you’re participating, encourage those who are not wild enough to take the plunge to come out to support you and hold your warm, fluffy towel or robe for when you get out. Come join in the fun and start raising those donations! Spectators are welcome.

For more information on the Kingsport Aquatic Center, please visit swimkingsport.com or call 423-343-9758.

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Join the Kingsport Aquatic Center for Santa’s South Pole Swim!

On Saturday, December 14 from 6:30 to 8 p.m., bring your kids to the KAC for a holiday pool party. Don’t worry—the KAC’s indoor pools are warmer than the Antarctic. Kids can enjoy reindeer games, paddle board rides with the elves, and aquatic sled riding! You’ll even be able to take your picture with Santa.

All children 12 and under will also be able to decorate their very own stocking, provided by the KAC on a first come/first serve basis.

Pre-registration is $5 per swimmer, and day-of swimmer tickets will cost $7. If you prefer not to swim, all spectator tickets are $2. The KAC strongly recommends you pre-register! Tickets are available by visiting the Special Events page on swimkingsport.com.

Please call the KAC at (423)343-9758 for more information.

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If the frigid temperatures have got you missing long walks in the park under sunny skies, come help Kingsport Parks and Recreation make a plan for the future! The City of Kingsport Parks and Recreation Department is in the process of developing a master plan that will create both short and long-term goals for the facilities, programs and recreational experiences available residents and visitors.

The organization is hosting a drop in open house to hear ideas on future activities and give input on existing ones. Come by and give your ideas on how to continue to make Kingsport a great place for lifelong play, recreation, health and learning.

The open house will be on December 9 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. in the Kingsport Civic Auditorium.

For more information on Parks and Recreation, please visit www.kingsportparksandrecreation.org.

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How can you take advantage of Opportunity Zones in our region? On December 11, the City of Kingsport is hosting the TN Department of Economic & Community Development for a Regional discussion on getting the most out of Opportunity Zone legislation.

From 1 to 5 p.m., regional stakeholders are invited to MeadowView Conference Resort & Convention Center for an update on Opportunity Zone progress and projects. Whether you’re an investor, developer, fund manager, entrepreneur, accountant, government or business leader or any other kind of regional stakeholder, you are welcome to attend this free presentation.

“Attracting capital to our area is critical for economic growth,” said Jason Hudson, Kingsport’s Economic Development Director. “As a region with over half a million people, together we can showcase East Tennessee and position ourselves as a destination for new industry and technology companies while supporting our existing business community.”

The day’s agenda:
– Lamont Price, TN ECD, demonstrating TN’s new OZ platform
– OZ refresher and regulation updates
– What do funds want?
– Opportunity Appalachia
– Examples of what qualifies as an OZ project
– Local incentives for developers
– TN incentives
– Panel discussion
– Project Exhibition and Networking

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 created incentives for investment in distressed communities through the creation of Opportunity Zones. In December 2018, a meeting was held at Meadowview to introduce Opportunity Zones. This presentation will provide an update on the IRS guidelines, local projects, and available resources.

Please register to attend online at bit.ly/oz-423. There is no registration fee. Entrepreneurs are invited to set up a booth, though space is limited—just select “Project Presentation” when you register.

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The City of Kingsport has filled the Economic Development Director and Assistant to the City Manager positions.

As Economic Development Director, Jason Hudson supports City Manager Chris McCartt and works closely with the city’s Development Coordinator, Nathan Woods, to advance Kingsport’s economic development efforts.

Originally from Kingsport, Hudson joins the city after more than 23 years in the Navy and 18 years of human resources leadership experience. He retired as a commander in 2016 and continued his career in human resources as a Regional HR Director for a Tier I/II automotive company and as an HR consultant. He brings an emphasis on strategic planning, recruiting, training, and workforce development to his position as Economic Development Director.

“It is an exciting time to join the Kingsport team,” Hudson said. “Our city has a storied history, and I look forward to helping our local talent start and grow their initiatives while attracting new businesses, jobs and residents to share in our outstanding quality of life.”

Hudson has a Bachelor of Science in Human and Organizational Development from Vanderbilt, as well as three master’s degrees: Industrial/Organizational Psychology (Christopher Newport University); National Security and Strategic Studies (Naval War College); and an MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship/Innovation (University of Tennessee).

New Assistant to the City Manager Jessica Harmon acts as a proxy and assists McCartt across many arenas.

Harmon has served as a planner for the City of Kingsport since May of 2016, and previously served both Johnson City’s and Bristol’s planning departments. Her time as Senior Planner and later as Principal Planner has included work across a number of city boards and commissions, as well as assisting citizens and revising regulations to make them user-friendly and modern.

“Working for the community that raised me has been such an honor,” Harmon said. “I want to grow with the city, both professionally and personally.”

Harmon holds a bachelor’s degree from UT in political science and a Masters of Public Administration from East Tennessee State University. She is also a recent graduate of the Leadership Kingsport program and currently serves as Chair for the Youth Leadership Program with the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce.

“These two roles are an integral part of my vision for Kingsport since I stepped into the city manager job in July,” McCartt said. “We’re looking forward and stand ready to push our city into a great next year.”

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How many times in the past year have you attended a Kingsport event? Whether it was a parade, a Fun Fest event or an Evening at the Market—Kristie Leonard helped make it happen.

Kristie, who started with the city 12 years ago, plays a crucial role in a streamlined event process that makes submitting event applications easier than ever. She is the key contact for anyone who wants to host an event in Kingsport. Instead of fumbling through contacts and clicking through websites to find information on hosting an event, organizers can contact Kristie for anything from small-scale gatherings to Fun Fest-sized events.

“I may be the first person that someone connects with in our city,” Kristie said. “I may be what they judge our city on. So I’m very careful about how we deal with different organizers, making sure that we give good customer service, answer their questions and be as helpful as we can for them.”

Kristie partners with many city departments from Police to Public Works to ensure every event goes off without a hitch. This departmental teamwork is something unique to Kingsport.

When she isn’t organizing events, Kristie is running the Kingsport Farmers Market. She is in charge of receiving and sifting through vendor applications to make sure that the market gets a large variety of high-quality goods. She also helps bring programs to the market, like Saturdays with the Chef and Market Jams.

Kristie strives to bring a “front porch feel” to the market and make it a place where people know and trust their neighbors and come out to visit with them. Her hard work is paying off: For the second year in a row, the Kingsport Farmers Market has been voted the Best Farmers Market in East Tennessee by Tennessee Magazine.

“Our vendors are amazing,” Kristie said. “What I do is bring people to the vendors so they can sell their goods.”

Kristie’s top priority is the safety and happiness of Kingsport’s citizens. Whether she’s coordinating events or running the farmers market, Kristie enjoys the roots of her job.

“It’s always fascinated me how governments work,” Kristie, who majored in political science, said. “At the same time, I also get to enjoy the creative side. I don’t have a boring day.”

People like Kristie, who are dedicated to seeing Kingsport grow into the best it can be, are what make Kingsport such a great place to live. Next time you take a stroll through a Kingsport event or prepare some produce from the market, remember people like Kristie who are dedicated to bringing what’s best to the city.

Want to hear more from Kristie? Visit http://bit.ly/city_desk to listen to her conversation with City Manager Chris McCartt on Kingsport’s podcast “From the City Desk.”

Kristie