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Below is a note from Jeff Fleming. It will serve as the city’s press release.

I walked into City Hall as an ETSU intern in 1984. The city’s population was 32,027. I never dreamed I would meet and marry another intern and spend the next 35+ years with this wonderful organization — and certainly never  dreamed that I would become city manager. It’s been the honor of my life, especially to serve during the city’s 2017 centennial year. If you know me at all, you know I love this town. The only thing I love more is my family.

The Council Room has been so much more than a meeting room. It’s where we celebrated our wedding shower, baby showers, and so many of life’s milestones with co-workers and community. As much as I’m looking forward to the move to a New City Hall in the prominent location it deserves, it seems fitting that I close this chapter in the only City Hall I’ve ever known. I’ve worked for 6 mayors, 6 city managers, and more aldermen than I can enumerate. It’s time.

During my career, we saw global changes with profound impacts on our planned industrial city. But above all, our community is resilient. We came together and developed a plan to improve access to higher education, eventually building what we would call the “Academic Village” – and received national recognition from Harvard University for our efforts. More than 2,000 students attend classes on the blocks that formerly housed deteriorated buildings. We executed plans to redevelop Kingsport Mall (East Stone Commons), old Mason-Dixon (Crown Point Plaza), new Mason-Dixon (Kingsport Pavilion), Parkway Plaza, and Fort Henry Mall. When Kingsport Press closed, we developed a plan to build a downtown grocery, farmers market, and medical/professional offices. We transformed the public housing project in Riverview and set the stage for others to follow. I witnessed the vote to build MeadowView Convention Center and was assigned to facilitate the physical development of its surroundings for much of the next 20 years. We secured the corporate headquarters of Eastman and improved the signage, gateways, and presentation of our city. We did all of these things while attending to critical infrastructure needs. I’ve had the rare opportunity to live alongside the results of our collective labor and I’m proud of our body of work. There’s more on the horizon, but we have exceedingly capable people in place to get the job done.

I’m proud of the organization and culture we’ve built together. Our award-winning employees excel in their chosen professions. Many have received the highest possible honors from their statewide organizations – and some at the national level. They’ve embraced technology, driven efficiencies, and successfully pivoted any time that economic conditions required. Many can work anywhere they desire, but they choose to work here. I’ve tried to build a culture of respect and appreciation, never missing an opportunity to tell them how much I appreciate them. Let us never take them for granted.

You gave me the opportunity to advance within the organization and I am forever grateful. During the last five years, we grew the ‘rainy day’ fund by 33%, increased annual funding for paving by 400%, absorbed $12.8 million in State cuts, expanded the Greenbelt in both directions, remodeled Borden Park & Lynn View, expanded the Aquatic Center, and began the most substantial reinvestment in Bays Mountain Park since it opened. I’m also proud of the working relationship with Kingsport City Schools, which is the strongest I’ve ever known.

No person is an island. The people who did most of the heavy-lifting are still here. I hope you will afford them the same opportunities for advancement that I was afforded.

At every turn, God has opened doors, put people in my path, redirected me, and closed doors when necessary. I’ve learned to trust and see what the next chapter holds.

Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart,
Jeff Fleming

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City crews will be making waterline repairs on Gatewood Drive on Monday, April 15 between the hours of 8 a.m. and noon.  During that time, customers within Heatherwood Estates will experience a temporary disruption in their water service.

During times of water service disruption, the city recommends that customers make any necessary precautions to protect their water system (such as turning off their water heater).  If you have any questions, please call (423) 229-9454.

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Beginning on Monday, April 15, city crews will be making stormwater pipe repairs on East Sullivan Street.  In order to complete these repairs, East Sullivan Street will be closed at night between Cherokee Street and Cumberland Street beginning at 6 p.m. each evening and reopening at 6 a.m. the following morning.  The city anticipates this work to be completed by Friday morning, April 19. 

Motorists are encouraged to utilize the marked detour routes and use extreme caution while traveling in this area. Please obey all “Road Closed” signs.

If you have any questions, please call (423) 229-9454.

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KATS will offer free rides on all bus routes all day long Thursday, April 18th in honor of Good Friday and Easter. Please remember that KATS will be closed Friday, April 19th for Good Friday.

Make sure you take advantage of this deal, and tell your friends and family members. If you have never ridden public transportation, this is the perfect opportunity to try KATS at no cost to you. You can learn more about KATS at www.kingsporttransit.org. Thank you for choosing KATS!

WHAT:           Free bus rides on all routes

WHERE:         Route buses

WHEN:            Thursday, April 18th 2019

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In partnership with Keep Kingsport Beautiful and its Clean Sweep Kingsport efforts, Bays Mountain Park invites you to begin celebrating Earth Day a few days early by joining park staff on April 19 for an Earth Day Clean-up.

Spending time outside cleaning up the environment and giving back to the community is the perfect way to celebrate this planet we call home. From 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., park staff invites interested participants to come help remove trash along some of the trails in order to keep the nature preserve as pristine as possible. Groups will perform clean-up activities on Lakeside (2.75 miles), Lake Road (4.4 miles), and Fire Tower Trail (a round trip hike of 2.88 miles).

Earth Day takes place each year on April 22 to “mark the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970,” according to the Earth Day Network. It’s a day for people to show that they care about having a healthy and sustainable environment. The Earth Day Clean-up at Bays Mountain Park is a great way for park guests to help improve the environment they enjoy.

The Earth Day Clean-up is a great way for students to receive volunteer hours for school or scholarships.

If you’re interested in this volunteer opportunity, please pre-register by calling the Nature Center at (423)229-9447. Participants should plan to meet in front of the Nature Center at 9:30 a.m. Please bring drinking water, work gloves, and closed-toe shoes and dress for the weather.

The Earth Day Clean-up is a great way for students to receive volunteer hours for school or scholarships.

To learn more about Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium, or for more information about the Earth Day Clean-up, visit baysmountain.com or call (423) 229-9447.

Clean Sweep Kingsport, an event organized by Keep Kingsport Beautiful, takes place on Saturday, April 20, from 9 a.m. to noon at seven locations throughout Kingsport. Designed as a community clean-up, Clean Sweep Kingsport efforts will take place in Downtown Kingsport, the Greenbelt (at PetSmart), Riverfront Park/Holston River, Riverview/Borden/South Central, Lynn Garden, Highland, and Madd Branch. For more information about Clean Sweep Kingsport, please contact Robin Cleary at 423-392-8814 or via email at rcleary@kingsportchamber.org.

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City crews will be making waterline repairs along Lone Star Road on Tuesday, April 2 between 8 a.m. and noon. During this time, customers in Lone Star Road area (west of Little Horse Gap Private Drive) and the Beech Creek Road area will experience either a reduction in their water pressure or a temporary disruption in their water service.

During times of water service disruption, the city recommend that customers make any necessary precautions to protect their water system (such as turning off their water heater).  If you have any questions, please call (423) 229-9454.

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City crews will be making waterline repairs along Watauga Street on Friday, March 29 between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. During this time, customers in the 1300 and 1400 blocks of Watauga Street will experience either a reduction in their water pressure or a temporary disruption in their water service.

During times of water service disruption, the city recommends that customers make any necessary precautions to protect their water system (such as turning off their water heater).  If you have any questions, please call (423) 229-9454.

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City crews will continue sewer repairs along Clinchfield Street between Center Street and Press Street this evening (Thursday, March 28) beginning at 6 p.m. and lasting until approximately midnight.

During this time, Clinchfield Street will be closed to northbound thru traffic between Center Street and Press Street.  Two-way traffic will remain open between Center Street and the entrance to Burger King. The city encourages motorists travelling northbound between Center Street and Sullivan Street to utilize the marked detour. Clinchfield Street will remain open to southbound traffic (headed towards Center Street). The city urges motorists to use extreme caution while traveling in this area and to obey all “Road Closed” signs.

If you have any questions, please call (423)229-9454

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The City of Kingsport will begin road improvements on Bays Mountain Road beginning on Monday, April 1.  Crews expects to complete the work by Saturday, April 6.  McFall Excavating is the contractor performing this work for the city.

The construction zones will be marked by signs, and flaggers will be directing traffic.  The city advises drivers to use caution in the area during this time.  If you have any questions, please contact Hank Clabaugh with the City of Kingsport Engineering Division at 229-9324 or hankclabaugh@kingsporttn.gov. Thank you for your cooperation during this road improvement process.

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The City of Kingsport’s Progress Edition gives citizens a sneak peek into current and upcoming projects from the city and its partners.

In this year’s edition, you’ll find updates on the new KATS facility, the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, Bays Mountain Park and more! Click below to read the full color, online version of Progress Edition. If you prefer a physical version, look for a copy of the Kingsport Times-News for Wednesday, March 27.

Read the City of Kingsport’s Progress Edition 2019.