Kingsport Receives Municipal League Award for Excellence in Governance

In its centennial year, the City of Kingsport continues to find innovative approaches to local governance by involving citizens, utilizing new technology, and leveraging a strong relationship between the elected board and professional staff.

 

In recognition of the city’s innovative approach to service delivery, the Tennessee Municipal League is pleased to present Kingsport with the 2018 Award for Excellence in Governance.

 

“Kingsport is incredibly honored to receive this award,” said City Manager Jeff Fleming. “It’s not something we sought or applied for. There are more than 300 cities in Tennessee from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Mississippi River and to be selected by our peers in a surprise nomination is extremely rewarding.”

 

The Kingsport Spirit is alive and well 100 years after the city’s founding. The term was coined by founding father J. Fred Johnson to describe the community’s propensity to come together for the greater good.

“Governance is the process of bringing life to community dreams through citizen input, a representative democracy of elected officials, and a professional staff that innovatively delivers services at a constrained price,” Fleming said.

Leading up to the city’s centennial, officials established the OneKingsport Summit, a two-day period where citizen input was gathered and an advisory committee was formed to help guide the city into the future. The result of the summit were five projects aimed at providing a sustained economic impact and improving quality of life for citizens.

The city also established a 12-member Neighborhood Commission that advises and promotes initiatives to strengthen local neighborhoods. The group serves as a liaison to city officials about programs that could benefit various neighborhoods. To communicate better with residents, Kingsport implemented ‘YourGOV,’ a free service that allows residents to report non-emergency issues and service requests using the web or a smart phone.

Kingsport also worked to improve infrastructure – the foundational building blocks of a city. In 2017, Kingsport finished a $13.7 million raw-water intake project to provide a safe, reliable source of drinking water for generations to come.  Major reinvestments to the wastewater system removed a single point of failure from the Reedy Creek basin.  Ground-penetrating radar was used to obtain objective data and analyze every street in the city in preparation for PaveKingsport, the city’s sustainable paving initiative to ensure that every street is paved within an industry-standard life cycle.  Major gateways and high profile medians have been retrofit with trees and landscaping to provide a favorable first impression. The city also made major reinvestment into parks and greenspace like Centennial Park, Carousel Park, Borden Park and Bays Mountain Park, the largest city-owned park in the state at 3,550 acres. The new Lily Pad Cove Pavilion, along with major park renovations, will ensure that Bays Mountain maintains its prominence as Kingsport’s crown jewel. A fire facilities master plan was developed and funded. The public library has been remodeled and expanded. Dobyns-Bennett High School is undergoing a major expansion made possible by a partnership with Sullivan County for city-county school facilities.

“People seem to be taking notice,” said Fleming.  Kingsport was recently featured in The Tennessean as the 5th fastest-growing city in Tennessee for the 2017 U.S. Census.

According to the Tennessee Municipal League, “None of these projects would have been possible without the hard work and dedication of Kingsport’s elected officials and city staff, led by City Manager Jeff Fleming. Together, Kingsport officials have managed to provide top-notch traditional services while encouraging and supporting a variety of innovative approaches to service delivery by working together and showing a willingness to implement new and exciting approaches to government.”

“It truly takes a team and I’d put ours up against any team anywhere in terms of dedication, professionalism, and commitment to making a better community,” Fleming added.

Registration Open For Kingsport Aquatic Center’s Junior Viperfish

The Kingsport Aquatic Center has their own junior summer league swim team – the Junior Viperfish Swim Club!

The Junior Viperfish Swim League is now accepting new swimmers. There are no tryouts – the team welcomes all swimmers ages 6 and up of any ability. The swim team practices Monday, Wednesday & Thursday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. Swim meets occur on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m.  Participation in meets is optional, and most swim meets will take place in our home pool at the Kingsport Aquatic Center. The cost is $100 per swimmer for Kingsport Aquatic Center or YMCA members and $125 per swimmer for nonmembers. There is a discount for siblings wanting to join.

Swim Meets (2018):

  • June 19th vs. BSC & Piranhas @ KAC
  • June 26th vs. Kingsport Piranhas @ KAC
  • July 10th vs Elizabethton & Kingsport Piranhas @KAC
  • July 12th vs KAC @ Church Hill
  • July 17th vs Kingsport Piranhas @ Dobyns Bennett High School
  • July 24th vs Rogersville @KAC
  • July 28th: East TN Summer Swim League Championship @ KAC

If your child is interested in joining Junior Viperfish or for more information, please call 423-343-9767 or visit www.swimkingsport.com.

Sidewalk Improvements on Center Street

The section of sidewalk along Center Street (from Sullivan Street to Sevier Avenue) will be under construction starting Monday, June 4.  This sidewalk improvement project is expected to take three months with a completion date in September.

The improvement project will include demolition and replacement of numerous portions of concrete sidewalk, driveway headers, and ramps. Certain aspects of the work will require temporary closures of specific sections of sidewalk, ramps, and driveway headers.

Glass Machinery and Excavation, Inc. will be the contractor performing this work for the city.

Signs will mark the construction zones and lane closures. Drivers are asked to use extra caution in the area during this time.

If you have any questions, please contact Hank Clabaugh with the City of Kingsport Engineering Division at 229-9475. Thanks for your cooperation during this sidewalk improvements project.

Dog Days of Summer

The Water Park at the Kingsport Aquatic Center is open for the summer season and they are kicking off the month of June with Dog Days of Summer!

Enjoy half-price hot dogs after 4:00 p.m. every Thursday in June and July! The KAC also offers half-price admission after 4:00 p.m. daily, so you can visit the Water Park for $5 or $4 depending on height, and get a hot dog for $1 at the concession stand. Plain hot dogs are half-price and toppings are available at an additional cost.

New this year, the Oasis concession stand will be selling Big Splash Cups. With the purchase of one of these 32 oz. cups for $6.00, customers will receive a 10% discount on any future orders at the concession stand when they show their Big Splash Cup. Along with hot dogs, the Oasis concession stand offers hamburgers, chicken tenders, soft pretzels, french fries, nachos, frozen treats and assorted beverages. No outside food or drinks are permitted.

When visiting the Water Park, swimmers can enjoy two waterslides, the Eastman Credit Union 900-foot lazy river, climbing structure and play area with water cannons, lily pad crossing and new this year, guests can also rent one of the private cabanas.

Outdoor Water Park hours:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday and Saturday 10:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Sunday 12:00 p.m. – 6 p.m.

The Kingsport Aquatic Center is located at 1820 Meadowview Parkway, Kingsport. For more information about the outdoor waterpark, please visit the “Know Before You Go” page on www.swimkingsport.com or call 423-343-9758.

Saturdays with the Chef Returns

This summer, join us for Saturdays with the Chef and discover how to take advantage of those peak season produce items with creative tips and new recipes from our local chefs.

Saturdays with the Chef is a free cooking demo series showcasing local chefs and their recipes using produce available at the Kingsport Farmers Market. Copies of each chef’s recipe will be available at the demo and online, and free samples are also available at each demo.

The series takes place every Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. in June and July at the Kingsport Farmers Market.

Come sample cooking from featured chefs from Food City and other local businesses, and buy your ingredients from the Kingsport Farmers Market! Buying from our local farmers market not only boosts the local economy but also is a great way to provide healthy and fresh food for you and your family.

The series is sponsored by Food City, Healthy Kingsport, Visit Kingsport and the City of Kingsport.

For more information on the Kingsport Farmers Market, or to sign up for our monthly newsletter, please visit kingsportfarmersmarket.org.

National Trails Day

Each year people all across the country set out on trails in celebration of American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day. This year, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the National Trail System, American Hiking Society has set a goal to improve 2,802 miles of trail—the distance across the US—on June 2nd for National Trails Day.

In joining the effort on National Trails Day, Bays Mountain staff and volunteers will spend a few hours helping the BMP volunteer trail crew make improvements along some of the Park’s 40 miles of trails. Participants will meet in front of the Farmstead Museum on June 2nd at 9:00 a.m., and will finish up around 2:00 p.m. No experience required; just the ability to lop branches or swing an ax to remove roots.

Required equipment needed includes, drinking water, work gloves, sturdy shoes and a snack. The participants will be paired with experienced volunteers. Pre-registration is required by calling the front desk of the Nature Center at 423-229-9447.

Bays Mountain encourages everyone to take the National Trails Day pledge and join us as we hit the trail and leave it better than we found it during #NationalTrailsDay.

To learn more about National Trails Day, visit AmericanHiking.org/National-Trails-Day. For more information on Bays Mountain, please visit baysmountain.com or call 423-229-9447.

Public Works Day is May 25!

The week of May 20th through May 26th is National Public Works Week as declared by the American Public Works Association. Kingsport Public Works professionals will be on hand on Friday, May 25th, for the popular Public Works Day event. The event is from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Farmers Market Pavilion, with equipment displays, kid-friendly activities and other information as well as several presentations explaining essential daily operations.

City Public Works professionals will demonstrate the work of those who plan, manage, and maintain the city’s essential infrastructure, including water, sewer and transportation networks.

Other Public Works group members also will detail the city’s efforts in solid waste collection and disposal, as well as maintenance of public buildings and grounds.

“We are blessed by an extraordinary group of employees who are dedicated to serving the taxpayers of Kingsport,” said Public Works Director Ryan McReynolds. “We very much appreciate the community taking a few minutes out of their day to visit with us at the Farmer’s Market Pavilion, where we can personally explain the many of services offered by the City of Kingsport.”

Lunch will also be provided for all those who attend!

What:    City of Kingsport Public Works Day

Where:  Farmer’s Market Pavilion

When:   Friday, May 25th (10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.)

If you have any questions, please contact Sheila Catron with the City of Kingsport Public Works Department at 423-229-9470 or sheilacatron@kingsporttn.gov. For more information, please visit www.kingsporttn.gov.

Bays Mountain Launches New Website

With the warmer weather on its way, Bays Mountain Park is making it easier than ever to plan your trip to the mountain. With the launch of a new website this week, the park is inviting visitors to take advantage of all that Bays Mountain has to offer.

The new website has a clean design, improved functionality and enhanced content focused on Bays Mountain’s mission to provide park information in the clearest and most accessible way.

“The new site is very user friendly and captures the true essence of the park in its design,” said Rob Cole, park manager at Bays Mountain. “We believe that this new site will allow our visitors to have a very informative experience as we continue to grow and increase opportunities at the park.”

Designed and created by The Net360, the website offers several additional functions that will help visitors when planning their trip to the park, including three separate calendars on the website. Each calendar will have its own theme, one for the planetarium, and another for daily nature programming and the third for special events.

“We are honored to work with some amazing clients and Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium is one of our favorites,” said David Cate, creative director at The Net360. “There’s nothing like the City of Kingsport’s gem here in Northeast Tennessee.”

Bays Mountain’s new website will be updated on a regular basis with news of special events, daily programs and park information. Visitors are encouraged to explore the website and sign up for the Bays Mountain e-newsletter at baysmountain.com.

For more information on Bays Mountain, please visit baysmountain.com or call 423-229-9447.

Kids to Parks Day in Kingsport!

Join Kingsport is celebrating the 8th Annual Kids to Parks Day! With activities happening at Bays Mountain Park and with Kingsport Parks and Recreation, your kids will want to spend all day in a park!

On Saturday, May 19th, Bays Mountain Park will host a day of outdoor fun! Kids to Parks Day at Bays Mountain will take place from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. The event highlights the nature programs offered at the Park, with extra programs including a touch table from 11:00 – 3:00 p.m. in front of the Nature Center and a scavenger hunt from 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. in front of the Farmstead Museum. Nature program fees apply, but the touch table and scavenger hunt are free.

Kingsport Parks and Recreation is offering up a free rental at one of the Parks and Recreation centers to the winner of a Kids to Parks Day photo contest! All participants have to do is visit one of the four parks on May 19th, Borden Park, Kingsport Greenbelt, Centennial Park or Preston Forest Park, and snap a photo! Then post your photo on Facebook with the hashtag #KidsToParksDay and follow the Kingsport Parks and Recreation page.

Kids to Parks Day is a nationwide celebration of the great outdoors and is designed to connect kids and families with their local, state, and national parks and public lands. By discovering and exploring our public lands, kids across the country can learn about park stewardship, outdoor recreation, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), and the history of our country.

By teaching our kids to appreciate and enjoy our public lands, we can foster future outdoor enthusiasts and create the next generation of park stewards and caretakers of these important places.

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

For more information on Kingsport Parks & Recreation, please visit kingsportparksandrecreation.org or call 423-343-9723.

Kingsport Aquatic Center Outdoor Park Opens Monday

The outdoor water park at the Kingsport Aquatic Center will open its gates on Monday, May 14 at 10:30 a.m.

Swimmers can enjoy two waterslides, the Eastman Credit Union 900-foot lazy river, climbing structure and play area with water cannons, lily pad crossing and concessions stand. New this year, guests can also rent one of the many outdoor cabanas.

“With all of the warm weather we have been having, we know everyone is excited to get in the pool” said Kari Matheney. “The Water Park Pass is going to come in handy this year if the recent weather is a predictor of this summer.”

The Kingsport Aquatic Center admission is based on industry standards. Upon arrival, children will be required to take off their shoes and be measured. If the child is 48” or taller, their admission to the park will cost $10. If the child is less than 48”, their admission cost is $8. Seniors are $8 and children 2 and under are free with a paying adult.

The Aquatic Center, both indoor pools and outdoor waterpark, will be open Memorial Day from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Outdoor waterpark hours: (beginning May 14th)

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday and Saturday 10:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Sunday 12:00 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Check out a quick promo video here!

The Kingsport Aquatic Center is located at 1820 Meadowview Parkway, Kingsport. For more information about the outdoor waterpark, please visit the “Know Before You Go” page on www.swimkingsport.com or call 423-343-9758.