What started as a campaign promise quickly went to a two-day summit with hundreds of people brainstorming ideas on how to improve Kingsport. From there, dozens of volunteers worked for months on refining those ideas into a more workable list of projects Kingsport could do to make the city the premiere destination in our region.
On Monday, the plan went to the next level, with an advisory commission making its recommendation for the top five areas the Board of Mayor and Aldermen should consider focusing on.
“We’re leaving this in your hands,” said Jane Henry, chair of the One Kingsport Advisory Commission. “It’s your choice and your direction of what projects move forward and what scope you will move forward with.”
The original list of “big ideas,” policy changes and capital projects from the One Kingsport summit totaled more than 100 items, which was eventually prioritized into a five-year plan, with some “quick hits” implemented over the past 18 months.
Some items, like beautification and an economic development portal, have been done. Other projects are currently underway.
Essentially, One Kingsport is about ensuring a prosperous future for the city. A major component of that plan has been to take advantage of unique assets that differentiate the Model City from other cities in our region.
“This is the plan for the future,” Mayor John Clark said of the recommendations.
The advisory commission’s top five focus areas are as follows:
- Bays Mountain is working toward a National Recreation Trails certification.
- A new venue will be located at Lily Pad Cove for weddings, parties and other events.
- Update the Nature Center to include a world-class area with new animal habitats.
- Create a new entrance to the park, as well as a new entrance to the Nature Center.
- Add new wayfinding signs in the park, information kiosks and interactive exhibits.
- Create an outdoor venue adjacent to Brickyard Park with seating capacity for 15,000
- Nearby amenities would include two multi-purpose fields and cross-country running paths
- Venue could accommodate concerts, festivals, benefit walks, car shows and sporting events.
- An outdoor venue has the potential to exceed $50 million annually in economic impact.
Product Creation Center
- A product creation center would serve as a maker space for folks who like to create “things.”
- It would provide resources to bring entrepreneurs to the region.
- The center would provide space and specialized machinery for product prototyping.
- Collaborate in a creative way with artisans, tinkers, entrepreneurs and makers to solve complex problems.
- Create a mentor network that rivals big cities, and become startup/entrepreneur-friendly certified.
- Create a 12-member commission with representatives from Kingsport neighborhoods, serving as municipal liaisons.
- The commission would provide neighborhoods with a strong link to the city.
- Representatives would identify best practices, share success stories, remove roadblocks and provide a venue for neighborhoods to connect for collaboration.
- It would serve as a neighborhood advocate with the city to help resolve municipal problems and provide feedback to neighborhoods.
Rediscover the Riverfront
- Rethink Riverfront park, add a destination playground and active play area at Kingsport Landing.
- Enhance the Riverbend area with trails, a fishing pier and passive recreation opportunities.
- Create an additional boat ramp on the south side of Riverfront Park with access points to the river at Domtar Park.
- Recent retail establishments have located along the river to take advantage of the river activity, which builds momentum for other private establishments to join them.
- A recent TVA study has shown that 1 mile of shoreline equals $1 million in economic impact.