Tell your story: Mayor wants to hear what Kingsport means to you

Matthew Lane • Jan 10, 2016 at 12:00 PM

KINGSPORT — Mayor John Clark wants to hear your story. He wants to hear what Kingsport means to you.

Spinning out of last fall’s summit is an eight-week campaign titled “I am One Kingsport,” where city officials are asking folks to share their stories with them. In a link at www.onekingsport.com, the campaign says, “We want to tell your story.”

“Did you grow up here? Are you raising your children here? Did you go through a hard time here? Did you meet the love of your life here?” the campaign asks. “What makes you One Kingsport?”

Emily Carrier, a video marketing specialist with Cumberland Marketing (which manages the One Kingsport website for the city) said the campaign launched last week and will be running for seven more weeks.

“We are gathering stories and turning profiles into blue silhouettes,” Carrier said in an email to the Times-News. “You can expect to see these stories and silhouettes published on billboards in Kingsport, at OneKingsport.com, and on OneKingsport’s social media (pages). Anyone is welcome to submit their story.”

The One Kingsport summit brought together 190 business and community leaders, regular citizens, elected officials and Millennials, all with a sole purpose in mind: to kick-start the process of developing a five-year road map for the Model City.

Seven focus areas were discussed at the summit, and following the two-day event, work groups for each area were established and filled with volunteers, a city staffer and an alderman to come up with specific recommendations to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

These work groups have been meeting over the past two months and are expected to bring their ideas to the BMA in March.

“Part of the summit was coming together as a community, to help address the most pressing issues we have in our city,” Clark said. “As an extension of the One Kingsport spirit, we wanted to start providing an opportunity for our citizens to share with everyone what their thoughts are of One Kingsport and what they like about Kingsport so much.”

The “One Kingsport” slogan is now entrenched in the vernacular of city and elected officials ever since the October summit. It’s been used at the recent State of the City event, placards with the logo are being used at ribbon cuttings and press conferences and Clark typically references the movement during BMA meetings and public appearances.

When people hear about “One Kingsport,” the phrase means something different to everyone, based on background, experiences and outlook for the future, Clark said. Of all of the anecdotal stories to be submitted through the One Kingsport website, Clark believes they will be inspiring and positive.

“I'm anxious to read them because I learn a lot about the makeup of our citizens, all of the different and exciting perspectives,” Clark said. “By getting different perspectives from people, I think it enriches the opportunity that we have as a city to come together and improve.”