Don’t Get Blinded!

Check Out The Solar Exhibit Creation

Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium is happy to announce their latest exhibit creation for the public. The display highlights the major points regarding total solar eclipses, especially the one coming up on August 21!

The exhibit features wonderful design elements, including nine different panels. Visitors can learn about eclipses, how to view them safely, what phenomena to experience, some insightful quotes, and a large map of the eclipse shadow path as it crosses the United States. It’s important to show just how close the path of totality is to the Tri-Cities area – only about three hours away!

The exhibit was a joint effort of the exhibits and planetarium departments. The principle players were Cassy Rose and Jason Dorfman, respectfully. The exhibit was developed in conjunction with the Park’s main planetarium show, “Totality,” which was also produced in-house by the planetarium and exhibits departments and is now showing in at least 30 theaters across the US at this time.

The new exhibit is on display adjacent to the main lobby of the Nature Center. The planetarium show is offered most days up through August 20. Please visit baysmountain.com for show times.

solar eclipse exhibit

Bays Mountain Park employees Cassy Rose and Jason Dorfman created the Total Solar Eclipse exhibit.

Kingsport sets one of the lowest tax rates in city history

With reappraisals recently completed in Sullivan County, taxpayers in Kingsport are reaping the benefits of higher property values that enable the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to set the fourth lowest tax rate in city history.  The new rate is $1.9750 per $100 of assessed value, while the previous rate was $2.07.

The tax rate had been as high as $2.39 in 2000.

Tennessee assesses residential property at 25 percent of market value and 40 percent for commercial/industrial. In many states, it is not uncommon to see property taxes applied to 100 percent of assessed value.

“Tennessee has a rollback provision that is very favorable to residential property owners,” said City Manager Jeff Fleming. “This, coupled with the fact that taxes are only assessed on ¼ of the property value, makes Tennessee an extraordinarily affordable place to live.”

In cities that are located in two or more counties, the tax rate is also equalized between counties. “For the first time in recent memory, the Kingsport city tax rate in both Hawkins and Sullivan Counties is the same.”

While the rate is one of the lowest in city history, the combination of rate and individual property value determines the actual out-of-pocket cost to a homeowner.

“If your property is above the citywide median value, your out-of-pocket might be slightly higher. If it is below median, you may actually pay less out-of-pocket than you did four years ago. The basic rule is that the city receives the same aggregate amount, but the burden is shifted,” Fleming explained. “It’s Tennessee’s built-in tax relief for those who need it most.”

Under the new tax rate, annual city taxes on a $50,000 home would be $247, a $175,000 home would pay $740, a $300,000 home would pay $1,481, and a $500,000 home would pay $2,469.

Annual taxes on a $500,000 business would be $3,950, a $1,000,000 business would pay $7,900 and a $5,000,000 business would pay $39,500 and a $15,000,000 business would pay $118,500.

“A growing tax base is the sign of a fundamentally-sound, healthy community,” Fleming added. “Kingsport continues to be the lowest cost among the Tri-Cities in terms of taxes and fees. We provide the highest quality services with the greatest value proposition to our customers.”

In 2016, the city’s ten largest property taxpayers accounted for 33% of all taxable assessed value – that’s down from 37.5% in 2005. A more diversified tax base is one factor that helped improve the city’s financial ratings from “good” to “strong.”

2017 tax rate

 

Saturdays with the Chef

The Saturday cooking series offers a free cooking demo showcasing some of our local chefs each Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. in June and July. This summer, discover how to take advantage of those peak season produce items with creative tips and new recipes from our chefs. Buying from our local farmer’s 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, click here.

Postcard Chef Event

Top 5 Outdoor Spots in Kingsport

Kingsport is a great city to find something to do outdoors. We have many natural resources within a 10-minute driving distance, why not take advantage of them?

  1. Bays Mountain Park and Planetarium

A local Kingsport nature preserve, Bays Mountain is full of adventures and things to see! Did you know you can take a barge ride around the lake or ride on the 300-ft zip line? If climbing is your skill, try out the adventure ropes course!

It’s not only a haven for hikers and mountain bikers, offering roughly 40 miles of trails, but it’s also for animal observers. A nature center with a state-of-the-art planetarium theater features example animal habitats while the paved walking trails around the center provide visitors an up-close view of local wildlife. Visitors can see wolves, deer, bobcats, raptors, reptiles and more.

For more information, visit www.baysmountain.com.

  1. Kingsport Greenbelt

The Kingsport Greenbelt is paved multipurpose trail connecting neighborhoods, parks, downtown commercial districts, schools, and activity centers. It features a pathway that meanders along gentle streams, wanders through marshlands, glides across open meadows, and passes historic buildings and houses that have been preserved and restored.

Along the Greenbelt, travelers can use water fountains and refill stations, picnic shelters, playground and benches. Fishing piers and boat ramps can be seen and accessed on the Netherland Inn side of the trail. The 9-mile trail is accessible throughout the city of Kingsport, with popular spots being behind PetSmart and Riverwalk Park.

For more information, visit www.kingsportparksandrecreation.org.

  1. South Fork Holston River

Because mountains and the Holston River border it, Kingsport offers many opportunities for adventures. Throughout the summer, the river is full of kayaks, canoes, small boats and even river tubes.

There are locations along the Greenbelt between mile markers 7 and 9 to access the river. Boat ramps, fishing platforms and picnic areas are open to the public. For more information on river activities, visit www.kingsportparksandrecreation.org.

The river area is also a great location for bird watchers. To find out more about bird watching in the Kingsport area, visit www.kingsportbirdingtrail.com.

  1. Warriors’ Path State Park

Attention mountain biking fanatics – located on the shores of the Patrick Henry Reservoir on the Holston River, Warriors’ Path is home to an internationally renowned mountain bike trail system (which is a designated National Recreation Trail).

The 950-acre park is also home to premier boating and fishing activity, hiking trails, an award-winning nature education program and a nationally recognized golf course.

For more information, visit www.tnstateparks.com.

  1. Kingsport Centennial Park –Coming July 2017!

After careful study and community input, the Centennial Commission developed a plan for a financially feasible and sustainable legacy project.

This park is a gift we give to the city for current and future residents of Kingsport to enjoy. Located in the historic district of Kingsport, Centennial Park will feature an interactive water fountain, historic brick walkway, greenspace, benches and public art pieces!

In August, a grand opening park party is set to be the first official event! For more information, visit www.kingsport100.org.

‘Totality’ – You Don’t Want To Miss This

Bays Mountain is proud to announce their latest planetarium show creation, “Totality,” running now through August 20, 2017. “Totality” is a fascinating look at all the wonders of eclipses, especially total solar eclipses.

An eclipse is described as when one celestial object blocks another from view. The staff of the planetarium and exhibits departments at Bays Mountain produced this program. It examines what eclipses are, how and when they occur, and what wonderful sights they create. The program also looks back to a fascinating period in scientific discovery when general relativity was proven with the photographic recording of a total solar eclipse.

The planetarium show is followed by an update on the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse and a brief tour of the current night sky.

The production includes a variety of wonderful styles – from spectacular space environments to humorous pop-up books. A very special part of the show relates, in a very human way, what happens when you are caught in the shadow of the Moon and the Sun is plunged into a total solar eclipse.

The show runs about 35 minutes in length. During May, the show is offered at 4:00 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and at 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. During the months of June-August, the show will be offered at 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and at 1:00, 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

To see a trailer and learn more about the show, please visit Bays Mountain Park.

Eclipse Poster

How Many Books Will You Read?

Read books, log your hours and win prizes! The Kingsport Public Library is offering its annual Summer Reading Program from June 5 through July 28. The theme this year is ‘Build a Better World.’ The goal of the Summer Reading Program is to encourage community members to read during the summer days and visit the library to participate in programs. In line with this year’s theme of building a better world, library staff encourages readers to make choices throughout the summer to help our city become a better place so that it can be here for another 100 years!

People may register online at www.kingsportlibrary.org starting May 30. Participants will track their reading for the summer and earn prizes as they go. The library will have programs for all ages throughout the summer.

For more information, please call 423-229-9365. To view library events, visit www.kingsportlibrary.org.

library-reading program

Big Trucks, Bucket Rides & More at Public Works Day

Kingsport Public Works invites citizens and their families to come by the sixth annual Public Works Day at the Farmer’s Market in Kingsport on Tuesday, May 23, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

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

Public Works employees will be on hand to demonstrate and educate how their equipment works and answer questions. Children will have an opportunity to get up close to the equipment to see how it works, such as taking a ride in a bucket truck, using a truck claw to pick up items and even climbing into a seat of a garbage truck. Two painting stations, manhole covers and snowplows, let kids show off their artistry for display throughout the city.

Kids can watch and learn how to use the sewer camera. Those interested in the science behind the wastewater treatment plant can look through microscopes to see the microscopic organisms used in the biological process of treating water. A large sandbox will also be set up to allow the public to view a replica of Kingsport sewer and waterlines.

Information about the city’s basic infrastructure, including water, sewer and transportation networks, along with who manages those projects will be available. Several presentations explaining essential daily operations will take place throughout the event.

For more information, please call 423-229-9470.

Young Swimmers Can Join The New Junior Swim Team

Kingsport Barracudas Partner with Kingsport Aquatic Center

The Kingsport Aquatic Center is creating their own junior summer league swim team – the Junior Viperfish Swim Club! The Kingsport Aquatic Center has formed a new partnership with the Barracudas Swim Club to host a youth fun swim camp as well as swim and stroke clinics in the fall. Swimmers of all skill levels have the opportunity to participate in the swim camp, join the summer Junior Viperfish Swim Team, and take swim stroke classes in the fall.

“The partnership between the Barracudas Swim Club and the Kingsport Aquatic Center is a win-win as far as I can see,” said Chris Coraggio, head coach of the Barracudas Swim Club. “Through this partnership, the region benefits from the combined resources of two outstanding organizations, both of whom are committed to providing first-class programming for our community.”

The swim camp is June 1 to 3 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday at the Kingsport Aquatic Center. Swimmers ages 6 to 14 will learn swim techniques, water safety, as well as play fun games. The cost of the swim camp is $25 per swimmer. All swimming abilities are welcome!

The Junior Viperfish Summer League Swim Team starts practicing after the swim camp. There are no tryouts – the team welcomes all swimmers ages 6 and up of any ability. The swim team will practice Monday, Wednesday & Thursday evenings from 6:45 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Swim meets occur on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m.  Participation in meets is optional and most swim meets will take place at the Kingsport Aquatic Center. The cost is $80 per swimmer for Kingsport Aquatic Center or YMCA members and $100 per swimmer for nonmembers. There is a discount for siblings wanting to join.

In the fall, swim stroke clinics will be held as part of the partnership. These classes are not just for the swim team – all swimmer are welcome to participate!

“Our goal is to make the aquatic setting a positive one for all abilities,” said Chassy Smiley, Kingsport Aquatic Center assistant manager. “Swimming is a lifelong activity that can be enjoyed from infancy to senior age and participated in both competitively and recreationally. If we can introduce and promote swimming to those who are hesitant or uncomfortable in the water, we believe our team will encourage them to dive in.”

For more information, please visit www.swimkingsport.com or call 423-343-9758. For more information on the Barracuda Swim Club, please visit www.barracudaswimclub.org.

viperfish flyer

Highlighting Heroes: Water/Wastewater Facilities Manager for Kingsport Public Works

Niki Ensor

Niki Ensor – Water/Wastewater Facilities Manager

Niki performs a life sustaining service – clean drinking water for our city.

Niki Ensor leads her team to provide clean and healthy drinking water for Kingsport residents – an essential service for any community.

Niki is the Water/Wastewater Facilities Manager for the City of Kingsport. Hired in 1998 as an operator in the water treatment plant, Niki eventually moved up to her current position. Her main responsibility is to make sure residents of Kingsport have the water they need to go about their daily lives.

“We are able to provide this service so that our community can live and thrive and build, and then they can have a great quality of life within our beautiful city,” she explained.

Her current project, the Raw Water Project, is nearing completion. The project replaces the current infrastructure and equipment that has reached the end of their usable life. The new infrastructure will change how water pumps in the plant for treatment. Using gravity, water will flow through a new tunnel and be pumped into the plant. The new infrastructure is more efficient and will provide Kingsport with clean drinking water for the next 100 years.

“What this does is provide us with more reliability, replace outdated infrastructures, and make water treatment more secure,” said Niki. “Now pumping operations will happen on-site at the water treatment plant, reducing the risk for single points of failure.  It’s really a tremendous project.”

Niki enjoys being involved in projects that go above and beyond the minimum requirements of water departments across the state. She and her team strive to better the quality of life for everyone in Kingsport. The water/wastewater team takes great pride in their department. They often receive recognitions for their efforts.

Recently, the water department won the Distribution Operational Excellence Award and the EPA Safe Drinking Water Partnership Award for the eighth year. The wastewater treatment plant has received several National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) Peak Performance awards for their exceptional compliance record.

Niki Ensor is a Kingsport Hero because of the hard work and dedication she puts into providing the city with the clean and safe drinking water it needs to stay healthy and thrive.