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As part of the ongoing bicycle and pedestrian plan for the Kingsport Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization (MTPO), a virtual workshop is being held to collect feedback from the community.

Building on the region’s strong commitment to planning and transportation options, the purpose of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan is to guide the development of bicycle and pedestrian improvements over the next 20 years throughout the Kingsport Metropolitan Area. The plan will result in network recommendations to guide the development of sidewalks, bicycle paths, and trails in the Kingsport region going forward, as well as cost estimates, a phasing and implementation schedule, and supporting policy and program recommendations.

With support from its lead consultant, Gresham Smith, the agency is studying improving bicycle and pedestrian mobility and safety throughout the Kingsport Metropolitan Area. Typically, these meetings would be held in-person, but because of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the MTPO has decided to host this round of outreach virtually.

Residents may participate in two ways.

  1. A live virtual workshop will be held on Tuesday, December 8, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. A link to the meeting may be accessed on the Metro Transportation Planning’s Meetings & Notices page on the city website. The workshop will consist of a live presentation followed by a question-and-answer period.
  2. An asynchronous virtual workshop is also being provided. Residents are encouraged to visit the MTPO’s website to provide their feedback via an online survey and interactive map. A recorded presentation providing an overview of the project and progress to date is also included.

The virtual public workshop will run from December 8, 2020 to January 8, 2021.  All questions and comments received will be reviewed by project staff and, where applicable, incorporated into the draft study recommendations.

Regular updates on the virtual workshop, and the project in general, may be accessed on the Kingsport MTPO Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan Facebook page.

For persons with disabilities requiring special assistance, please contact the Kingsport MTPO at 423-229-9401.

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Starting December 7, the Kingsport Senior Center, including all branch sites, will be closed.

The sites will be closed in order to deep clean the facilities and evaluate the virus spread in the Kingsport community. City staff will reevaluate opening the facilities after the end of next week.

For those who take part in the congregate meals, individuals can find instructions on how continue receiving meals while the facility is closed on the website or by calling 423-392-8400.

Thank you for your understanding as we do our part to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

For updates about the Kingsport Senior Center, please visit seniors.kingsporttn.gov or follow the Kingsport Senior Center Facebook page.

Bays Final Logo Brown

Right now, the instrument that takes you to the stars at Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium is on a journey of its own—all the way to Germany. The planetarium theater’s Carl Zeiss ZKP-4 Star Projector is headed overseas for updates and improvements, officially kicking off several planned renovations to one of the park’s most beloved attractions.

The star projector will return to its manufacturer, Carl Zeiss, where highly trained technicians will perform delicate, precise maintenance on the machine that will keep it running for years to come.

“This is an exciting time for the park, the planetarium and the city,” Planetarium Director Adam Thanz said. “This is the city’s, the park’s and the citizens’ theater, so everything we do is for them—for the current day and for the future.”

This necessary maintenance will keep the planetarium theater operational and in shape for the next decade ahead, ensuring that Bays Mountain Park can continue its goal of educational outreach and inspiration for this region.

So what will you notice, once the star projector returns home from ZEISS? The biggest improvement involves swapping out the halogen lamps that light up the star projector for LED. This will increase the potential brightness fivefold.

“Because of the improved LED technology, the stars themselves will have more of a presence,” Thanz said. “The color of the stars will be whiter and even more accurate.”

The extra brightness means they can be used in conjunction with the digital projections, so the stars don’t get washed out. The higher brightness may also be used for other purposes, and Thanz hopes it will assist visitors with limited vision.

Other planned improvements include replacing the digital projectors and other aging equipment, as well as the seat covers and cushions in the theater. Mounts for the projectors will be installed, as well as other infrastructure work. These renovations are expected to be complete in the spring of 2021.

“We’re not just replacing used equipment,” Thanz said. “We’re preparing for the future that will pay back for many years. When we are able to open safely, and for at least the decade that follows, we’ll have an educational tool that is worthy of the children, and everyone else, in our region.”

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The Kingsport Miracle Field was recently honored with the Mark Miller Tennessee Public Works Project of the Year Award.

The Miracle Field Complex features a rubberized baseball field, along with an adaptive playground, pavilion and concessions. It was built to accommodate special needs children, wounded warriors and others. The support for the project was overwhelming and shows how generous the Kingsport community is. Making baseball accessible to all is a great way to bring people together, from those playing on the field, to the parents and volunteers supporting them. This field was a highly successful project that will benefit the community for years to come.

“In many ways, this project turned out to be such a breath of fresh air,” said Deputy City Manager Ryan McReynolds. “I’m very proud of how the design and construction of this field, which is different than a standard baseball field, came together through various city organizations, such as Barge Design Solutions and Visit Kingsport.”

The Project of the Year award, given by the Tennessee Chapter of the American Public Works Association (TCAPWA), recognizes a project within the state of Tennessee that emphasizes outstanding planning, construction and management. Kingsport’s success with the Miracle Field Complex is an excellent example of how a public works department can operate as a team to produce high-end results.

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

ryan mcreynolds and justin holland

kingsport aquatic center logo

This December, the Kingsport Aquatic Center has multiple opportunities for you to learn a new skill—including learning how to teach others! Register now for a Lifeguard Training Course, Lifeguard Instructor Training or Water Safety Instructor Training.

“Water safety is a priority at our facility,” Director Kari Matheney said. “We always value the chance to pass on these important skills that help keep people safe in and around the water.”

All courses at the KAC are American Red Cross courses.

Water Safety Instructor Training
Pre-Test: December 4, 4 – 5:30 p.m.
Mondays, Wednesdays & Thursdays December 7 – 21| 4 – 8 p.m.

The Purpose of the American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor course is to train instructor candidates to teach courses and presentations in the American Red Cross Swimming and Water Safety program by developing their understanding of how to use the course materials, how to conduct training sessions and how to evaluate participants’ progress. You will earn an American Red Cross Health and Safety Services Instructor Certificate for Water Safety (valid for 2 years). Please register by 5 p.m. on December 3 for this course.

Lifeguard Training Course
Pre-test and operations set up: December 7-11
December 18, 4 – 8 p.m. | December 19 & 20, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. | December 21, 12 – 3 p.m.

Learn to lifeguard! This course will provide entry-level lifeguard participants with the knowledge and skills to prevent, recognize and respond to aquatic emergencies and to provide care for breathing and cardiac emergencies, injuries and sudden illness until emergency medical services personnel take over. You will receive an American Red Cross certificate for Lifeguarding/ First Aid/ CPR/AED (valid for 2 years).

Lifeguard Instructor Training
December 28 – 30, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Interested in teaching others lifesaving skills? This class will train instructor candidates to teach the American Red Cross Lifeguarding, Lifeguarding Blended learning, Shallow Water Lifeguarding, Waterpark Skills, CPR/AED for Professional Rescuers and Health Care Providers, Administering Emergency Oxygen and Bloodborne Pathogens Training courses and/or modules. This course is approximately 21 hours in length. Please register by December 20 for this course.

All courses are $200 for KAC or YMCA members, and $225 for non-members. Please note that the required $75 deposit is non-refundable. For information on pre-requisites and registration, visit http://bit.ly/KAC_learn. To learn more about the KAC, go to swimkingsport.com or call 423-343-9758.

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Are you looking for the perfect book to help you fall in love with reading again? The dedicated team of experts at the Kingsport Public Library has you covered with Next Reads.

Simply fill out the easy form, available at www.kingsportlibrary.org, to let them know a little bit about your reading preferences, and you’ll be provided with a customized list of Next Reads you will love! The more you share, the better the book suggestions can be. Once received, the book expert will review your form and answers and select three recommendations.

“If the latest bestseller is checked out too often, people don’t know what to read,” said Chris Markley, library manager. “There are so many wonderful books waiting for readers. Next Reads is designed to help people discover titles and authors they might not be familiar with.”

Next Reads begins December 1. Complete the forms available in the library or at www.kingsportlibrary.org. The library will contact you when your Next Reads list is complete, usually within two business days. Once your titles become available for pickup you can come to the Circulation Desk or arrange for Curbside Delivery.

For more information about Kingsport Public Library, please visit www.kingsportlibrary.org.

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The third annual Storm Drain Art Contest is now complete!

This year is more exciting than ever as our annual contest has inspired other cities such as Norton, VA and McMinnville, TN to hold their own Storm Drain Art Contests. The message behind the contest is being spread as well: Keep It Clean – We’re All Downstream! The public is encouraged to visit the drains and pick a favorite.

Drain locations include:

  • Market Street – Trista Demoranville
  • Gibson Mill Road – Juanita Mitchell
  • Lynn View Community Center – Julie Hayden
  • Clay Street – Lauren Whipple
  • Water Services (Konnarock Road) – Kaylee Osborne

All of the drain designs are unique. There are some drains that feature the animals that live in our local waters as well as some that highlight the importance of a community effort when it comes to keeping our water clean.

“This is the second year that I participated in the Storm Drain Murals and it was just as fun!” said Juanita Mitchell, artist of the drain on Gibson Mill Road. “This year I was assisted by a talented artist and friend, Tim Mullins. One of the benefits of painting in a neighborhood was the community engagement. We found all our interactions with the neighborhood folks to be positive and they seemed to appreciate that their neighborhood had been chosen.”

While some artists have painted for this contest before, others are new—both to the contest and the area.

“We moved to Kingsport about two years ago and were so excited when we first saw a painted drain downtown. It was so exciting as we found more around town,” said Julie Hayden, who worked on the Lynn View Community Center drain. “I was so intrigued when I saw the contest announced this year. I was thrilled to have my design chosen and expand my creativity. I look forward to seeing more drains painted around the city, that they may bring a smile to those that find them!”

There was also some input from some of our youngest citizens on the storm drain designs.

“My kids Wyatt and Kaden helped me with my design. They are 4 and 5 so I wanted something simple they could understand,” said Trista Demoranville. “We chose mother nature as our focus point because in my house, we spend a lot of time outside learning about what mother nature has to offer. We had a blast being able to participate in sharing this message and hope to do it again in the future!”

With the success of the third year of the storm drain contest, the Stormwater Department plans to hold the contest again next year.

“I hope that the work of these extremely talented artists will not only educate but also brighten someone’s day as they stroll past the new storm art,” said Amanda McMullen, stormwater quality control technician for Kingsport Public Works.

Sponsors for this contest include Bishop & Company, Kingsport Imaging, Now or Never Tattoo Gallery, Mattern & Craig, Hazen and Sawyer, Barge Design Solutions, Gresham Smith, and Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts.

What is Stormwater?

As Kingsport grew, the ground became covered with asphalt, concrete and buildings. Without realizing it, an important part of the water cycle was disturbed. Instead of rain naturally filtering into the ground, it flows over roofs, driveways and streets as stormwater. Stormwater can pick up pollutants and transport them into local waterways via the storm drain system. Pollutants include everyday items like pesticides or fertilizers in our yards, oil in our cars, and even soap. When introduced into the waterway, pollutants have a harmful effect on aquatic life and the health of our rivers.

 

Photos from top to bottom: Tim Mullins & Juanita Mitchell, Julie Hayden, Kaylee Osborne, Lauren Whipple and Trista Demoranville

juanita mitchell_storm drain julie_storm drain kaylee_storm drain lauren_storm drain trista_storm drain

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Please note: This article is Part Two of a Development Article series, highlighting new changes in the development process in Kingsport.

As more people want to call Kingsport home, more housing and development has been in the works to meet that need. Kingsport has already seen promising results from recent development changes made to streamline the development process.

Heading up the new development process is Development Coordinator Elizabeth Rowe. After joining the city in June, Rowe has been very involved in getting the new development processes up and running and serves as the main point of contact for anything related to development.

Rowe’s position serves as a liaison between city staff and the developers, design professionals and property owners that have chosen Kingsport for their commercial businesses or residential developments. All plans for new or re-development within the city (with the exception of new or remodeled single family homes on existing lots) come to Rowe, allowing her to shepherd the project through the approval process. This could be as simple as the developer submitting plans and getting them approved in house, or may involve review and approval from one or more of the city’s boards and commissions.

“Since I came on board, we have made some significant changes in the development process,” said Rowe. “Our goal is to have the most streamlined and efficient process possible while also protecting the city and ensuring the quality of developments. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen multiple exciting commercial and residential development projects approved. Many parts of the world may have come to a screeching halt, but the City of Kingsport continues to grow and flourish; to have a small part in making that possible is extremely exciting for me.”

The process of having Elizabeth’s position as a one-stop shop for developments helps relieve city staff of phone calls and emails and aids them in having more time to review plans and ensure all construction is sound. This process also helps the developers, owners and design professionals as they do not have to spend extra time corresponding with multiple city departments. Rowe fields all questions and comments back and forth which helps ensure that all parties are on the same page.

Kingsport’s goal with this new position is to provide our city with the best possible processes for housing development. When Chris McCartt became City Manager, one of his first goals was to hire a Development Coordinator to provide a streamlined approach to Kingsport’s development process. With Elizabeth Rowe now in place, this vision was greatly expanded upon over the last year and has led to the much improved development process we have now.

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A new and improved Scott Adams Memorial Skatepark is going to be built at Brickyard Park. The future skatepark will follow the latest design trends and include features to accommodate multiple user groups, as well as varied skill levels. The park will also incorporate bike park facilities.

The city is seeking input for both the skatepark and bike park to ensure that each will serve the community in the best ways possible. There will be a public input meeting held with two sessions, one focused on the skatepark section and one on the bike park section.

What: Public Input Meeting

Where: V.O. Dobbins, Sr. Complex, 301 Louis Street, Kingsport

When: November 19
Skate Park Session from 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Bike Park Session from 7:15 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.

In-person capacity may be limited due to social distancing requirements. Participation is also available via Zoom: bit.ly/park-input

If you can’t attend or wish to share your comments at a later date, please use the online survey: bit.ly/skatecontact

Please direct any questions to 423-229-9457.

Scott Adams Complex Flyer

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If the cooling 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 to residents and visitors.

The organization is hosting a drop in open house to provide an overview of the Master Plan “Draft” and to receive feedback on its various components. Come by and share 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 November 17 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. in the V.O. Dobbins, Sr. Complex in the Douglass room.

For those unable to attend or would like to do so virtually, a Zoom presentation overviewing the plan will be presented at 4:45 p.m. (link: bit.ly/open445) and 5:30 p.m. (link: bit.ly/open530).
A staff member at the check in desk will explain the format and COVID protocols, including asking attendees to wear a mask, social distance and limit crowd size at each station. The staff member will also provide a feedback flyer to be dropped off at the end of the meeting.

There will also be an online survey option that allows for the same responses as the feedback flyer. The link will be shared at the open house and will be available on the Kingsport Parks and Recreation website for input two weeks after the open house.

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