100 Years of Experience

The Kingsport Stormwater Engineers are celebrating a combined total of 100 years of experience on the job in 2017. Stephen Robbins has 41 years, Dan Wankel has 36 years and David Edwards has 23 years. We’re proud to have such experienced individuals in our city staff!

kingsport engineers

L to R: David Edwards, Stephen Robbins and Dan Wankel.

Beth Snapp: Album Release Concert

The Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts, in partnership with Engage Kingsport, presents Beth Snapp – Album Release Concert on Friday, February 10 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for reserved seating and can be purchased in advance at www.engagekingsport.com.

Singer-songwriter Beth Snapp might be considered pop infused roots, but her appeal has little to do with the box of a genre. It’s a connection. She flits around and between folk, bluegrass, pop, early R&B and jazz to create a unique sound with one purpose – to serve a story. Snapp highlights the complex emotions that fall on every day moments, and reels the listener in with an ‘I’ve been there before’ kind of sensation.

Her new album, “Write Your Name Down,” recounts the introspection and growth of a new chapter in her life. Produced by Grammy winning bluegrass guitarist Tim Stafford, this album features a number of acclaimed artists as well as Snapp’s talented band, whose members bring diverse backgrounds to further engrain her detour from standard classifications of music.  Regardless of style, Snapp hovers where modern meets tradition, to create an experience that speaks to the listener.

Tickets are in advance at www.engagekingsport.com, available at the door, or by calling 423-392-8414.

This performance is sponsored in part by a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission. The Tennessee Arts Commission is a state agency that cultivates the arts for the benefit of all Tennesseans and their communities.

The Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts manages cultural spaces, public art and engagement for a vibrant creative community.

Woodland Wonderland Coming to Kingsport Library

The children’s area of the Kingsport Public Library is transforming into a woodland wonderland. The area will have a new higher ceiling, carpet and paintings. It will also have a special glassed-in room for their 13 reading therapy dogs, part of a program where children read out loud one-on-one to canine volunteers, which will also double as a study area. New technology, such as an AWE Literacy Station for older elementary aged children and a touch table with preloaded educational software, provides additional learning opportunities. The popular Thomas the Train table will be returning from his ‘vacation’ with new friends.

Construction has started and is expected to last approximately four months.  Meanwhile, all children’s programs will continue uninterrupted and the children’s book collection has been relocated to the fourth floor, while the children’s audio collection is now shelved with the adult audio collection on the second floor.

This phase is the first of several “small steps” of remodeling the library will be undergoing over the next several years in anticipation of an expansion in 2022. The cost of this project is $404,453 with $100,000 coming from a construction grant from the Tennessee State Library & Archives and the remaining funds coming from the city of Kingsport.

For more information on the Kingsport Library, please visit www.kingsportlibrary.org.

rendering of library - child's area


Books Clubs, Open Makerspace Lab, Facebook Class & More

The Kingsport Public Library will be offering some new and exciting programs in February including two book clubs for adults, open lab in our makerspace area for all ages, game and craft night for adults, a Facebook class and a one-time workshop series on getting organized in your life.  All of these programs and activities are free, with the exception of a small cost to print items using our 3D printer.

The Unabridged Afternoons Book Club will meet February 23 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. in the board room at the library. “Me Talk Pretty One Day” by David Sedaris will be discussed.

The After Hours Book Club will meet March 30th from 6:00-07:15 at a downtown restaurant location – the specific location is to be determined.  “A Handmaid’s Tale” will be discussed at this meeting.

The Makerspace will have open labs every Wednesday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tools and programs at all times in this space is Ultimaker 3D printer, scanner, laptop with Simplify3D software, iMac computer with matter and form, blender, Autodesk meshmixer, Autodesk fusion 360, cura and iMovie.

The 3D printing is operated by library staff. There is a $1.00 fee per print job, plus $.15 per gram of filament. Other make materials, such as Animation Station, LegoWedo, cubelets, snap circuits & Makey Makey will rotate in that area. All ages are welcome – and we encourage adults to have fun with the Legos!

Facebook Basics class will be held February 9 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the auditorium. Learn the basics of how to use Facebook, including how to sign up, upload and download pictures, find friends, and make the most of this social networking website.

The library is bringing back their evening game and craft night for adults.  Bring your craft to work on while you visit with other crafters or enjoy board games with other gamers. Game and craft night will be held February 6 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The Year Of Getting Organized Series, a workshop presented by Angie Hyche, owner of Ship Shape Solutions and member of the National Association of Professional Organizers, will meet at the library from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. on three dates.
January 31: Simple Steps for Organizing Anything
February 7: Digital Decluttering: Organizing Your Documents, Files and Photos
February 14: From Piles to Files: Organizing Your Paper

For more information on these exciting programs, visit www.kingsportlibrary.org or by calling 423-224-2539.

Handmade Valentines, Glass Pendants & Meditative Drawing

February is full of creative classes at Art in the Heart. Not only can participants make a special Valentine, but there’s also a glass pendant class and a meditative drawing session!

Fused Glass Pendant – Come make your own jewelry in the form of glass pendants on February 9 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Instructor Karen Hitchcock has over 12 years’ experience and will help you create up to 10 pendants that you can keep or give as gifts to friends and family. All supplies are provided and the cost is $50.

Creative Valentines – On February 11, from 1:00 p.m. 3:00 p.m., fabric, rhinestones and decorative papers will be used to create unique handmade valentines. Lead by Anne Gurney Thwaites and Patti Lawrence, participants will make 2D, 3D and pop-up cards. All supplies are provided and the cost is $25.

Meditative Drawing – On February 18, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., join instructor Barbara Bell in learning the basics of ‘Zentangle,’ a relaxing form of drawing. Participants will learn how to recognize simple lines and shapes to make interesting black and white patterns on drawing paper. Different techniques will be demonstrated and colored pencils, pen and sketchbook will be provided. The cost is $25.

Located at 246 Broad Street, Art in the Heart Gallery is a non-profit gallery supported by the Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts and features local artists from the Tri-Cities area.

For more information, please visit www.engagekingsport.com or call 423-480-9702.

paper valentines glass pendants   drawing

YourGOV – Reporting Tool for Citizens

YourGOV is an innovative citizen request application that allows community members to conveniently report non-emergency issues and service requests using the web or a smartphone.

In just three steps, YourGOV users can submit common issues — such as potholes, street light outages, water leaks and more — complete with location, details and photos. Once submitted, YourGOV will automatically deliver requests to the city’s public works department where they are reviewed and routed for proper handling.

YourGOV is free and is available for use anytime. To visit YourGOV online, go to www.kingsporttn.gov and click on the YourGOV tab located on the homepage. If smartphone users would like to download the app, please visit the iTunes app store or Google Play store.

The YouGOV app is not to be used for emergency situations. If it is an emergency situation, citizens should call central dispatch at 423-246-9111. If the emergency requires an immediate response, citizens should call 911.

New Economic Development Portal Launched – SyncKingsport

From tinkering to technology to growing your business, Kingsport now has a professional pathway to get your ideas off the ground. SyncKingsport.com is the new online economic development portal for creative and innovative minds in Kingsport.

As an online portal for entrepreneurs and small business owners, SyncKingsport.com will help business owners identify and register for programs, find mentors and connect with resources in Kingsport.

The goal of the online economic development portal is to serve as a clarification and collaboration tool for all of Kingsport’s business services:

  • Increase activity for entrepreneurs in Kingsport
  • Connect mentors, services and events for business more simply
  • Provide a snapshot of activity to all partners to identify current and future opportunities to serve Kingsport businesses
  • Expand environment for collaboration among partners

How’d we choose this name?

Sync by definition is collaboration. Collaboration is the goal of the economic development partners and an online portal provides a single entry point for businesses and entrepreneurs who are looking for mentorship and services.

SyncKingsport community partners include AccelNow, KOSSE, HBDC, Innovation Forge, NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership, RCAM, and SyncSpace.

For more information regarding each of the partners or how to get started, visit www.synckingsport.com.

This portal is a completed project for OneKingsport.

Don’t miss the Iron Mountain Band playing at the Renaissance Center!

The Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts in partnership with Engage Kingsport presents Carson Peters and Iron Mountain: Premier Album Release Celebration on Friday, January 27 at the Renaissance Arts Center Theatre. The band will host a fan appreciation event from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the Gallery prior to the concert.

The Iron Mountain band entertains audiences performing old-time, bluegrass, and gospel music.  The band consists of Carson Peters, his father Jamie Peters, Eric Marshall and Ben Marshall of Mount Airy, North Carolina and Austin Tate of Marion, Virginia.

For those of you who don’t know Carson Peters, he’s the young lead of the band. He started playing the fiddle at the ripe old age of 3 when his parents bought him a 1/8 size fiddle.  By age 4, he was playing in fiddle competitions and jamming at musical festivals. At 12 years old, Carson is a seasoned performer playing numerous venues with his band throughout the region – Bristol Rhythm and Roots, Dollywood’s Bluegrass and BBQ and WDVX’s World Class Bluegrass concert series to name a few. Carson has also had the honor of playing on national TV as a guest on NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Little Big Shots with Steve Harvey, as well as play with Jimmy Fortune on the floor of the Tennessee State Senate.

The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $15. Tickets are available at the door, online or in advance at the Renaissance Arts Center.

The Renaissance Arts Center Theatre is located at 1200 E. Center Street in Kingsport. Tickets are available at the door or in advance at www.engagekingsport.com or by calling 423-392-8414.

This performance is sponsored in part by a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission. The Tennessee Arts Commission is a state agency that cultivates the arts for the benefit of all Tennesseans and their communities.

carson peters band

Housing is Hot in Kingsport

Construction values up $23 million in 2016

Housing is the fundamental building block of a community. New housing is critical to support employers who seek to recruit a talented and globally-competitive workforce. It also provides consumers who drive sales, which support the state’s primary source of revenue – sales tax. Recently, housing in Kingsport, like many communities, is facing ‘the perfect storm.’

First, the mortgage crisis of 2007-2009 created fundamental shifts in lending policy. Next, Tennessee made sweeping changes to its longtime annexation laws and severely hampered cities’ ability to grow geographically (which forced strategies to infill, redevelop and increase the density of housing options).  And finally, the millennials – now 24% of America’s population – prefer urban dwelling, mixed-use lifestyle choices, and many are long-term renters.

In 2016, Kingsport responded well to these new realities. The annual building statistics for 2016 show Kingsport added a diverse portfolio of multi-family and single family housing options. In addition, there is a renewed interest in infill construction, remodeling, and redevelopment. The top five new commercial permits illustrate the diversity of Kingsport’s economy, with investments made in education, healthcare, industry and banking.

The most significant multi-family figures for the calendar year 2016 are below:

  • Multi-family
    • Total of 36 buildings for $27,905,905
    • 22 buildings for Riverbend Villas totaling $13,061,538 (265 units)
    • 7 buildings totaling $9,520,367 for Overlook at Indian Trail (168 units)
    • 2 buildings at Bloomingdale Terrace totaling $1,245,000 (24 units)

A total of 88 permits were issued for new single-family dwellings, an increase of 12 permits from 2015, with a total construction value of $22,290,687. Compared to the previous year, the total value for single-family housing starts increased $3,330,046; while the average cost per home increased from $249,482 to $253,303. Over half of the homes permitted had a construction cost between $200,000 and $400,000.

The most significant impacts for 2016 permits are below:

  • Residential Additions
    • 2015: 30 permits
    • 2016: 37 permits
  • New Single Family
    • 2015: 76 permits
    • 2016: 88 permits
  • New Multi-Family
    • 2015: 0 permits
    • 2016: 35 permits
  • New Professional/Medical/Bank
    • 2015: 1 permit
    • 2016: 3 permits

Housing is one of the main initiatives for the city of Kingsport. In addition to housing growth, the city has looked to expand housing developments through cost reduction options.

Through an investment of $3 million over the next 20 years, over 500 public housing units will be redeveloped and improved. Public housing redevelopment is set to start in 2017 with project completion expected in 3-5 years. The return on investment for the city is over $50 million.

To compliment the public housing improvements, three apartment complexes, The Retreat at Meadowview, Overlook at Indian Trail and Riverbend Villas, have construction underway. These complexes have over 500 units combined to accommodate future residents in Kingsport.

A new section of the Edinburgh housing development will provide 23 new lots for single and multi-family residents. Construction has started and is expected to be completed in early spring of 2017.

Below is a list of existing new home communities with lots available:

  • Hunts Crossing (Colonial Heights)
  • Old Island (Indian Springs)
  • Edinburgh (Rock Springs)
  • Windridge/Rose Gardens
  • The Summit at Preston Park
  • Brookton Park (Rivermont/Fort Robinson)
  • Harmony Ridge (Midfields)
  • Riverwatch (Rotherwood/Allandale)
  • Autumn Woods (Cook’s Valley)
  • Anchor Point (Cook’s Valley)
  • Chase Meadows (Cook’s Valley)

City staff continue to work with developers and builders on appropriate incentives for new construction opportunities and to market our existing new home communities. We have a beautiful setting and quality, dependable builders are waiting to make your dream home a reality!

housing being built


Two Kingsport attractions receive state and national recognition

Hike Local in 2017: Tennessean features Bays Mountain’s Trails

Ready for spring? Do you want to start your 2017 out with a great outdoors experience? Check out a few of the hikes that were featured in The Tennessean, with one from our very own Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium. These hikes are included in the list of hikes everyone should take in 2017!

  • Bays Mountain Tower Loop, Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium, Level: Easy; Family friendly hike of 2.3 miles with lakeside scenery and the beauty of Bays Mountain backdrop.
  • The Honey Creek Loop, Big South Fork National Area & Recreation, Level: Very Difficult; You’ll need an adventurous side and some experience for this 5.6 mile hike.
  • Fall Creek Falls Trail, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Level: Moderate; Hike this 3 mile round trip hike and be rewarded with a 256-foot freestanding waterfall!

If you’re not ready to travel far to hike, Bays Mountain has over 32 miles of hiking trails of all levels of difficulty. You can pick up a details hiking trail map at the park’s nature center. Rob Cole, park manager, suggested a few tips for those hitting the trails.

“Be sure to take your map. It will come in handy if you’re not sure where your trail is heading. Take drinking water and a cell phone with you. If you happen to get lost, you can always call the nature center. And please remember, Bays Mountain is a nature preserve so respect the environment and stay on the designated trail.”

For more information and to check out a trail map, please visit www.baysmountain.com.

To view the rest of the recommended Tennessee hikes, visit www.tennessean.com


Kingsport Aquatic Center’s Indoor Pools land #1 for state of Tennessee

Most people think of swimming as a summer activity, but not here in Kingsport! With the Kingsport Aquatic Center open year round, swimmers and splashers can swim or slide inside when it’s snowing outside.

The Kingsport Aquatic Center was recently featured in a national travel article on MSN. The article featured one indoor pool in all 50 states to help ease the winter chill. With three indoor pools, swimmers enjoy water aerobics classes, water therapy classes or add laps toward their own centennial swim challenge of swimming 100 miles in 2017.

The centennial swim challenge is for swimmers to swim 100 miles in 2017. Swimmers can register at the aquatic center. At the end of 2017, all 100 mile swimmers will get a free t-shirt and be invited to the 100 mile swim party.

The aquatic center is located in Kingsport’s Meadowview district at the base of iconic Bays Mountain, the center provides area residents and visitors with the best in health, fitness and recreation features in a safety-focused environment. For more information, visit www.swimkingsport.com, the Kingsport Aquatic Center Facebook page or call 423-343-9758.