Citizens Energized as the ONEKingsport Mayor’s Summit Comes to a Close

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KINGSPORT – Day two is complete of the ONEKingsport Mayors Summit, and with energy in the air, citizens are ready to get to work to shape the future of Kingsport.‚  The goal is to become the best possible Kingsport, a place that is attracting and retaining new and existing residents, visitors, businesses and developers.

Mayor Clark welcomed everyone on day two and announced he wanted to change the vision of Kingsport because it was wanted by our citizens.‚  He wanted to change the vision from becoming A premier city to live, work and raise a family and for businesses to grow and prosper, to THE premier city.‚  Since it was an announced public event with the BMA present along with the city recorder and a stand-in city attorney, the vote was made to change the vision.‚  This energized the room for the day.

Ellen Dunham Jones, urban design architecture professor from Georgia Tech, was the key note speaker and talked about the importance and vitality of a downtown and the critical need for walkability in a city.

Breakout sessions occurred for the seven focus areas, which include arts and entertainment, downtown revitalization, housing, job creation/entrepreneurship, higher education innovation, destination city investments and health and wellness.‚  Citizens had the opportunity to discuss big ideas and relay the challenges and assets regarding their focus area.‚  Online viewers also had the opportunity to walk through the same process via a survey that walked through the same questions the breakout groups did.

After the breakout sessions, representatives from each group revealed their top 3-5 big ideas to be voted on by attendees and viewers via text polling.‚  Some of the popular big ideas were urban development downtown, get rid of the odor, enhance the Greenbelt, build an outdoor performance arts theater/park, develop General Shale building, create accelerator programs, and to revisit the Kingsport Landing concept.

Over the next four months, the Post-Summit Workgroups of the seven focus areas will work towards building recommendations, inclusive of budgetary needs, to the BMA.‚  Each group is led by a steward, who is a community volunteer.‚  A city staff liaison and a BMA liaison will also participate.‚  Other members include summit attendees, subject matter experts and others as assigned by the steward.‚  The workgroup will meet in the next couple of weeks to lay groundwork, benchmarking and conduct research.‚  Over the course of the next two months, they will continue to create a plan.‚  Regular updates from each workgroup will be provided at BMA work sessions.‚  Final recommendations will be submitted in February 2016.

The work is just beginning, says Mayor Clark.‚  The Summit laid the foundation for our BIG ideas, and now we are going to work towards building recommendations that will further our city and help us achieve our vision. Making our city better improves all that live in our region.