Today’s libraries are about more than Books

They are creative educational spaces for learners from birth to high school and beyond. September is Library Card Sign-up Month, a time when the Kingsport Public Library joins with the American Library Association and public libraries nationwide to make sure that every student has the most import school supply of all – a free library card.

Librarians provide important resources to families whose children are at the earliest stages of development, by teaching parents and caregivers the components of early literacy that help children develop the basic tools for school readiness. As of 2010, libraries in the United States offered more than 2.3 million children’s programs, which account for nearly two thirds of all library programming.

Older students can access high-speed Internet, digital tools and the opportunity to work with trained professionals on how to use them. Librarians provide guided training in digital media and grow digital literacy skills. Libraries also provide equity of access to digital tools and media, which has become increasingly important in high-poverty areas where students are less likely to have a computer or internet access in the home.

Libraries are also a training ground for students of all ages to expand their knowledge and explore creative pursuits. The development of makerspaces is just one way libraries are seeking to meet this demand, ranging from low-tech, hands-on engineering opportunities for children and teens using toys and kits to the incorporation of high-tech tools like 3D printers.

Resources at the Kingsport Public Library are available to anyone who has a library card. Students can turn to the library for materials, programs and knowledgeable library staff that support academic achievement.

“Our library provides access and programs for students of all ages,” says Kingsport Library Director Helen Whittaker. “For preschool age children we offer early literacy and story times to encourage school readiness, for older children and teens we supplement education with hands-on science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) programs, and for nontraditional students we offer GED resources. We even have thousands of e-book downloads. There’s really something for everyone, and it’s all free with a library card.”

For more information on how to sign up for a library card or the September program calendar, visit the Kingsport Public Library or visit online at


Walk A Few Steps in a Police Officer’s Shoes

The Kingsport Police Department is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for an upcoming class of the highly acclaimed Citizens Police Academy.  K.P.D.’s Citizens Academy is open to individuals who are at least 18 years of age, who either reside or work within the city limits of Kingsport.

The Academy is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, October 11, 2017 at 6:00 PM. Classes will meet twice each week on Wednesday and Thursday evenings for four consecutive weeks at 6:00 PM, with the final class being held on Thursday, November 2, 2017. Each class will run approximately 2 to 3 hours in duration.

The Citizens Police Academy is not designed to prepare citizens to become actual police officers; however, it will give citizens a chance to walk a few steps in an officer’s shoes to experience what it might be like to serve as a police officer and to better understand why officers do what they do. Citizens Academy classes include an interesting mix of classroom presentations, demonstrations, and hands on activities.

Class topics include:

  • An Introduction to K.P.D. with a Tour of the Justice Center
  • Collision and D.U.I. Investigations
  • Crime Scene Investigations
  • The Bomb Squad
  • The Police K-9
  • Traffic Stops and Building Searches
  • Defensive Tactics and the Use of Force
  • W.A.T. (Special Weapons and Tactics)

The deadline to submit an application will be Friday, September 15, 2017 at 5:00 PM. Anyone interested in participating in the Citizens Academy needs to submit a new application, regardless of whether or not they have previously submitted an application.

For more information, and to download an application, please visit For any questions regarding the Citizens Police Academy or for further assistance in applying, please contact K.P.D.’s Public Information Officer at 423-229-9433.

Church Circle Project Starts Today

Weather permitting, the New Construction of Church Circle project will start today. No streets will be closed, but barricades will be placed around the center of the circle.

Kingsport’s historic church circle is undergoing a major renovation and upgrade. The upgrades will fix longstanding issues with the crumbling edges of the circle, irrigation and maintenance of the landscaping, and enhance the traditional events held in the heart of the city. In connection with adjacent churches, Downtown Kingsport Association, local architects and engineers, the new design is historically appropriate to our nationally recognized circle and compliments the nearby buildings. It will feature professionally selected plantings and a new tree that reflect the importance of the circle to our community.

GRC Construction will be completing this project for the city.

Motorists are asked to use extra caution when traveling through this area. If possible, motorists should search for an alternate route to avoid any congestion.

For more information, please contact David Mason, construction project manager for City of Kingsport, at 423-343-9792 or

We appreciate your patience during this improvement process.

Church Circle Conceptual Rendering

Healthy Debt & Capital Investments

Healthy Debt & Investments graphic

Be One of the First: Grand Opening of Kingsport Centennial Park

Leave your mark on history by celebrating with family and friends on this special day
The celebration will begin with a ribbon cutting and the official turning-on of the interactive water feature.

Festivities include Cheerwine visiting us as they, too, are 100 this year. Their samples will provide the perfect centennial refresher. Face painting, free bubbles, and more will be available for kids to enjoy. Sleepy Owl is hosting a food truck rodeo and Sam’s Snoballs are making an appearance!

A variety of entertainment will join the celebration, including the Central Baptist Church Choir, Kingsport Showtime, Kingsport Ballet, the State Theatre Group and a magician! They will light up the stage and make you want to stay all day. While the festivities finish at 2:00pm, the park is yours forever!

…And specials from some of our downtown merchants!

Bellafina Chocolates – Opening on Saturday for the special event. 10am – 2pm. The first 100 to visit will receive a mini truffle sample pack.
High Voltage – Corn hole and Sam’s Snoballs
Style – 30% of a select 100 items
Picsee Studio – Photo booth with instant downloads
Main Street Pizza – $1 off Miller Lite and speciality pizza slices (11am-2pm only)
Abingdon Olive Oil – “Olivia” will be at the park and their 100 day specials will be going on
Model City Tap House – sandwich, drink, chips (tax included) for $10; special will run from noon to 3pm Saturday
Sleepy Owl Brewery – Opening early; organized a food truck rally, using commemorative centennial cups to serve beer for the day

Park Opening Poster

Sharing A Vision For The Next 100 Years…

Over the last eighteen months, the Summit Advisory Commission diligently worked to bring all the community’s input together to formulate the top five most impactful projects. The goal for OneKingsport was to be the best possible Kingsport, a place that is attracting and retaining new and existing residents, visitors, businesses and developers. These projects are collaborative in nature, provide sustained economic impact and improved quality of life. It’s Kingsport’s centennial year. We have enjoyed celebrating our past and our present, so now it’s time to reach for the future.

Get excited here!

OneKingsport Cover Photo

Ask an Astronomer: Q&A About Upcoming Eclipse

Get answers about the upcoming solar eclipse on August 21!

Adam Thanz, planetarium director at Bays Mountain Park, has the answers to all of your eclipse questions!

  1. What is an eclipse and what happens during an eclipse?

The moon will travel on its normal orbital path about the Earth as it always does but it will slip into a very narrow corridor in which it will perfectly align, and go between, the Earth and sun. The result, a total solar eclipse. If you are able to place yourself within that narrow path, then you can experience up to 2 minutes and 40 seconds of totality. The sun will be fully blocked by the moon allowing the much fainter corona of the sun to be seen along with the sky darkening to a deep, magical twilight and brighter stars and planets revealing themselves. The temperature will drop, and the wind will pick up. It will be an alignment of celestial proportions.

  1. How do I safely view an eclipse?

A priority of any eclipse is safety. It’s not the eclipse that is dangerous, it’s looking at the sun. There are two main ways to see the eclipse safely. One is by using solar glasses that are designed to cut the sun’s brightness by 100,000 times. Solar eclipse glasses are available for purchase online.

The other safe method is to project the image of the sun. You can use a pinhole to project inside a box, or use a kitchen colander to do the same thing.

  1. Where can I view the eclipse?

Everyone in the US, along with most of the Western Hemisphere, will be able to see at least a partial eclipse. Anyone within the Tri-Cities will see about 96% of the sun blocked by the moon. The partial eclipse will look the same.

If you want to view the total solar eclipse, then you will need to travel to the path of totality. The best resource is an interactive map – you can find them online.

‘Totality,’ a nationally showing, locally produced planetarium show, is currently showing at Bays Mountain. For more information on the show and the eclipse, please call 423-229-9447, visit or check out the Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium Facebook page!

Eclipse Poster

Calling All Local Photographers

Have you taken great Kingsport pictures?

We need you!

The City of Kingsport is looking for great local photography to use for various publications and on the city website. Photos can be taken anywhere in Kingsport, showcasing city features and locations such as the clock tower, Church Circle, carousel, Bays Mountain, downtown, Kingsport Aquatic Center or even aerial shots of the city!

If you are interested in submitting your photos, please contact Adrienne Batara at or 423-343-9791.

Free Concerts in August!

Allandale Mansion is hosting free concerts in August in honor of Kingsport’s centennial! The concerts start at 7:00 p.m. at the Allandale Amphitheater, and music lovers can get food and beverages starting at 6:00 p.m. Foodie Fiction and Sleepy Owl Brewery are sure to serve up something for everyone. Auntie Ruth’s Donuts will be present for the August 17th concert!


Be One of the First: Grand Opening of Kingsport Centennial Park!

The Centennial Commission invites you to join in the celebration as they host a grand opening for Kingsport Centennial Park. The celebration will open with the national anthem sung by Kingsport’s own Carla Karst with the Dobyns-Bennett Band as accompaniment. The ribbon cutting will be the first official turning-on of the interactive water feature, the park’s core.
Opening day will continue the celebrations after the ribbon cutting, so bring the whole family out for a fun-filled event. Festivities include Cheerwine and MoonPie visiting us as they, too, are 100 this year. Their samples will provide the perfect centennial snack.

Variety acts from the ballet to a church choir to a magician will light up the stage and make you want to stay all day. Showtime is even stopping by for one more appearance. While the festivities are finished at 2:00pm, the park is yours forever!

Along the wall of the pump station, you will find beautifully hand-crafted tiles by students from Lincoln Elementary and Dobyns-Bennett High School. This art project was made possible in part by an ‘Art Builds Community’ Grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission.

“Now that I’m going to be a grandfather, I have even more love for this park,” says city manager Jeff Fleming. “It was built for future generations, and I will bring my grandkids here every year to show them the importance of celebrating history and sharing values with family.”

Kingsport Centennial Park came to fruition through a collaborative effort between the Kingsport Community Foundation and the City of Kingsport Centennial Commission. In celebrating the ‘Kingsport Spirit’, the park provides a unique destination and link to downtown Kingsport that commemorates the community’s past, present and future.

The fundraising effort for this legacy project grew organically in a way that went beyond the chair’s expectations. Brenda White-Wright states, “We all hope for a time that we can be a part of something special. Many thanks to everyone from across our community who gave their time and support to make Centennial Park a truly special landmark for centuries to come.”

Centennial Park is located at 245 E Main Street, across from Main St Pizza. The grand opening park celebration will occur Saturday, August 26 from 11:00am – 2:00pm.

About the City of Kingsport
Founded in 1917, the City of Kingsport (pop. 53,000) is located on the Tennessee-Virginia border at the crossroads of I-81 and I-26 near the geographic center of the eastern U.S. The city is widely known as a planned community, designed by renowned city planner John Nolen and wrapping around the foot of Bays Mountain – a 3,500 acre park, nature preserve, planetarium and observatory. Kingsport is recognized as an International Safe Community by the National Safety Council, a Healthier Tennessee community, and won the 2009 Harvard Innovations in American Government Award for its higher education initiatives. While many city names are duplicated throughout the U.S., there’s only one Kingsport – a fact that invokes community pride, known locally as the “Kingsport Spirit.”

About the Kingsport Community Foundation
The Kingsport Community Foundation is a philanthropic organization governed by a local board of directors. Their mission is to help donors maximize their contributions to the community by awarding grands that enrich lives and strengthen the Greater Kingsport Community forever. The Kingsport Community Foundation is an affiliate fund of the East Tennessee Foundation.

About the Tennessee Arts Commission
The Tennessee Arts Commission invests in more than 700 nonprofit organization across the state benefiting communities through quality of life, economic development, tourism and providing a more balances education for our children.

Park Opening Poster