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Are you a lover of all things Jeep? Join Bays Mountain Park for its first-ever Jeep Fest on June 19, celebrating this iconic all-terrain vehicle that’s perfect for adventuring. This event is hosted by Leadership Kingsport as one of its Community Impact Projects.

“With Bays Mountain celebrating 50 years this year, we wanted to help with the celebration by creating events for everyone to enjoy,“ said Vanessa Bennett, Kingsport Chamber of Commerce Executive Director of Operations & Talent Development and Leadership Kingsport coordinator. “The team—Sheriff Jeff Cassidy, Aiesha Edwards, Terry Hughes and Aimee Light—worked together to create Jeep Fest. We’re excited to bring this iconic sport utility vehicle to Bays Mountain.”

Jeep owners can register their vehicle to showcase at the park and compete in five categories for prizes. Only 50 vehicles spaces are available, so be sure to grab your spot before they run out! The awards categories are:

  • Vintage
    • 1986 and older Jeep, Willys, Jeepster or Military Jeep
  • Stock
    • 1987 to present Jeeps; no modifications, factory jeep wheels are required, tires must be of a stock size available for the Jeep from the factory
  • Modified
    • Unlimited modifications, must be street legal and have a Jeep Body
  • People’s Choice
  • Best In Show

All Jeep enthusiasts are also invited to come check out the vehicles on display and vote on the People’s Choice award. Electric 94.9 will also be broadcasting live from the mountain!

Jeep Fest begins at 10 a.m. and lasts until 4 p.m. Registered Jeeps begin placements at 9 a.m. Please note that this event is limited to the common area, and no vehicles of any kind are permitted on Bays Mountain Park trails.

Judging begins at 3 p.m., and awards will be announced at 4 p.m. The cost to register your vehicle for Jeep Fest is $50. You must pre-register your Jeep online via Eventbrite.com here.

To learn more about Bays Mountain Park, visit baysmountain.com or call 423-229-9447.

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Join Kingsport Public Library and the Friends of the Kingsport Public Library for the next in the Behind the Book series on June 10 at 7:00 p.m. Behind the Book will feature discussions with regional authors and illustrators to find out more about their books. The discussion will be held virtually via Google Meet (link available at www.kingsportlibrary.org).

Larry D. Thacker is the next author in the series. A native of Kentucky who now lives in Johnson City, Thacker has had his poetry published in over 170 publications. He also is the author of Mountain Mysteries: The Mystic Traditions of Appalachia, several full poetry collections, and numerous short stories including his latest short story collection, Working it Off in Labor County: Stories.

“We want to provide a platform to local authors to connect with the public,” said Kate Woodworth, librarian at Kingsport Public Library. “The authors represent a variety of genres so the community can experience a wide range of literary interests.”

Upcoming Behind the Book discussions will feature J. Dianne Dotson. Visit the Library website, www.kingsportpubliclibrary.org for more information or contact the Kingsport Public Library at 423-224-2539.

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American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day is coming up on June 5, so it’s time to get excited about Tennessee’s beautiful trails.
 
“National Trails Day encourages people to discover their local trails, become active concerning trail issues and share their excitement for the outdoors,” said Renee Ensor, parks and recreation program administrator.
 
To celebrate the day, Kingsport’s Parks and Recreation is having a contest to get people out walking on some of Kingsport’s trails. To participate, post a picture of yourself at the Greenbelt, Borden Park or Lynn View track to the Parks and Recreation Facebook page. You will then be entered to win a free shelter rental for up to three hours.
 
To learn more about Kingsport’s parks, please visit www.kingsportparksandrecreation.org/.
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The Kingsport Senior Artisan Center will be hosting an open house on Tuesday, June 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Lynn View Community Center, located at 257 Walker St.

Established by the Kingsport Senior Center in April 2010, the Kingsport Senior Artisan Center provides a Consignment Gallery for regional artists and craftspeople ages 50 and older to market and sell their creative artwork.

Located in the Lynn View Senior Center Branch Site, the Artisan Center offers patrons a variety of juried art works including pottery, painting, basketry, wood crafts, knitting, crocheting, photography, jewelry and more.

“The Artisan Center not only displays your art but has also gotten me into two craft fairs so far,” said John Sinnette, senior center member. “Also, because we are members, we get reduced fair fees. I highly recommend you join.”

The Senior Center invites all Kingsport residents to come meet the artisans and see the newly renovated Artisan Center. Refreshments will be available, and music will be provided by The Ukulele Strings.

For more information about Kingsport Senior Center, please visit seniors.kingsporttn.gov/.

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Saturdays with the Chef makes its return to the Kingsport Farmers Market on June 5. This Discover how to take advantage of those peak season produce items with creative tips and new recipes from local chefs!

“We’re excited to be able to bring back some of our programming this season,” said Market Manager Kristie Leonard. “The Kingsport Farmers Market is a great place to shop, but we also strive to be a place where people can learn something new too.”

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 a.m. in June and July at the Kingsport Farmers Market. There will be no event on July 3 due to the holiday weekend.

Come sample cooking from featured chefs from Main Street Pizza and other local businesses, then buy the ingredients to make it at home while you’re at the market. Purchasing from 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. This is also a great time to support local chefs and restaurants as they recover from the pandemic.

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

For more information on the Kingsport Farmers Market, please visit kingsportfarmersmarket.org.

Bays Final Logo Brown

Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium announced at its 50th Anniversary public presentation today that the park will construct a new legacy trail in honor of its golden anniversary.

This trail will be the first new path through the park in nearly a decade and will take hikers, bikers and runners along a scenic ridge. The completed trail, which is expected to be three to four miles when complete, will be a contour trail along the south slope of the north ridge of Bays Mountain.

“We’re excited about what this new trail brings to the park,” Park Manager Rob Cole said. “It may end up as one of our most popular trails.”

The new trail will help alleviate traffic from current trails, as well as add more variety and work towards creating a complete look within the park using single track trails. It will be easy to intermediate, and will provide a new route to the iconic Fire Tower via Azalea Trail. It will also become the longest trail in the park. Please see below for an approximate map of the proposed route.

This 50th Anniversary project was made possible thanks to donations provided by Woody Reeves and Visit Kingsport. The trail concept and proposed design is a product of the 50th Anniversary Community Service Subcommittee’s efforts, led by Chair Tony Williams. The Community Service Subcommittee is part of the 50th Anniversary Celebration Committee.

The estimated completion date for the legacy trail is fall of this year.

To learn more about Bays Mountain Park, visit baysmountain.com or call 423-229-9447.

Bays Mountain Park 50th Anniversary Legacy Trail map

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Search for the natural secrets of Bays Mountain Park with the Bays Mountain Nature Quest. This fun, family-friendly activity for all ages launches today as part of BMP’s 50th Anniversary Celebration.

Nature Quest is a free activity booklet that helps kids and their families explore the park through 30 different scavenger hunt-style challenges, from finding a beaver lodge to figuring out what fills the reservoir. Activities range from easy to hard, and are marked in the booklet with paw print difficulty levels.

Completing 10 items on the Nature Quest earns a prize! You can submit your booklet at the Nature Center gift shop to redeem your prize.

For more information and hints on the quest items, visit baysmountain.com/nature-quest on your phone browser and keep it loaded while you hike around. Please note that internet may not be available in all areas of the park. Remember, Bays Mountain Park is a nature preserve: leave no trace, take only photographs and leave only footprints.

This project was put together by the Education Subcommittee of Bays Mountain’s 50th Anniversary Celebration Committee. You can find the booklet in the Nature Center, or visit baysmountain.com/nature-quest to access a PDF version to print at home.

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This month, the City of Kingsport will begin consolidating four government buildings and multiple departments into one new City Hall location at 415 Broad St. The transition will provide improved efficiency, accessibility and convenience to residents.

Progress on the move to the six-floor building, formerly the Regions Bank building, will be announced through “Kingsport is on the move” updates via the Kingsport Alerts page on Facebook and the city’s website at www.kingsporttn.gov/onthemove.

“We’re looking long term,” Kingsport Deputy City Manager Ryan McReynolds said. “By consolidating, there will be considerable savings to Kingsport taxpayers. Instead of maintaining and updating four buildings, we will have one convenient location, which will improve customer service and efficiency and reduce confusion.”

The new location is ADA-compliant, and visitors will have access to more than 270 nearby parking spots. In addition to 75 parking spots at the new City Hall building, parking also is available in city lots located on Clay Street and New Street and at Kingsport Public Library and East Sullivan Street.

The consolidation is anticipated to be complete by this summer. When complete, city services and departments will be at these locations in the building:

Floor 1

  • Building Division
  • City Clerk
  • Code Enforcement
  • Customer Service/Bill Pay

Floor 2

  • Budget
  • City Manager
  • Economic Development
  • Planning
  • Community Development

Floor 3

  • Board of Mayor and Aldermen Meeting Room
  • Human Resources
  • Legal & Risk Departments
  • Public Information & Communications

Floor 4

  • Purchasing
  • Leisure Services
  • Finance

Floor 5

  • Archives
  • (GIS) Maps

Floor 6

  • Information Technology (IT)
  • Kingsport Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization (MTPO)
  • Public Works Administration

“Our new city hall building reflects the accessibility the city wants to provide to our residents, while also adhering to the high standards set by our Kingsport community,” McReynolds said.

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The City of Kingsport is excited to launch ConnectKingsport, a new mobile application that is powered by SeeClickFix. This application is a citizen-first approach that allows residents to have a direct line of communication to request services and report non-emergency issues such as potholes and graffiti. The app will also be a great source of information on all things Kingsport, with links to the city website, animal services, ongoing events and more.

The ConnectKingsport app uses GPS to recognize your location and gives you a menu of common quality-of-life conditions to select from when submitting a request. The app also allows you to upload pictures or videos to accompany your request. Residents can track the status of reports they, or other members of the community, have submitted until the issue is resolved.

“When maintenance requests come in, they will be instantly routed and passed into Cartegraph, the city’s work and infrastructure management system,” said Kristen Steach, public works asset manager. “By pairing our new app and Cartegraph systems together, city field crews can now see and respond to requests in record time, automatically notifying citizens every step of the way.”

Back at the office, city staff will leverage powerful dashboards and reporting tools to identify hot spots, increase productivity, prioritize projects and spend tax dollars smarter.

This new application not only allows citizens to report concerns, but also to view and track concerns submitted by their neighbors. Citizens will have access to helpful links to city services and updates on local events.

To download the free app, go to the App Store or Google Play and search “ConnectKingsport” to find the app. Download the free app today to be a part of making Kingsport a great place to live, work and play!

To view the ConnectKingsport media kit, please click here. For more information on the app, please click here.

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The Kingsport Public Library has installed a new StoryWalk® in Glen Bruce Park to encourage reading and outdoor activity for families in an interactive format.

The new title is Hogwash by Karma Wilson. It’s a fun story of a farmer giving the animals a bath. It all goes well until he tries to wash the hogs.

StoryWalk, a system created for outdoor spaces with numbered stations that contain laminated pages from children’s books, can be found in all 50 states and internationally.

“With the return of the nice weather, it is the perfect time to enjoy the Storywalk in Glen Bruce Park,” said Chris Markley, manager of the Kingsport Public Library.

The library plans to change the stories quarterly, and new books will be announced on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kingsportlibrary/.

Participants are encouraged to share photos via social media and tag the Kingsport Public Library on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Participants also are encouraged to visit the library to check out books to share together in the park or at home.

Glen Bruce Park is located at 414 Broad St., in downtown Kingsport, adjacent to the library. Free parking is available.

Anne Ferguson created the StoryWalk concept, and it was launched in 2007 at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier, Vermont.