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We want your suggestions for upcoming city summit

September 14th, 2015 11:30 am by Editorial Board

We want your suggestions for upcoming city summit

As promised, Kingsport Mayor John Clark is creating a blueprint for the city’s future, a new visioning plan to serve as the development foundation for the next 10 to 15 years. The effort picks up with the success of the 1999 economic summit that led to, among other initiatives, the Kingsport Academic Village.

Mayor Clark plans a two-day summit next month at MeadowView to bring together a cross section of the community to refine several topic areas. This fresh look at the city’s direction comes at just the right time, as Kingsport’s momentum has lost a bit of steam.

New retail continues to locate in Kingsport, as with Walmart’s neighborhood market on Lynn Garden Drive. But with the decade-long redevelopment of every retail center in the city and buildout of city sporting venues among other initiatives, retail development has slowed. But that’s only one part of the blueprint.

Some 100 residents will be directly involved in a process to align the city with current and future trends, to emphasize the city’s differences as assets and to sell the lifestyle that is Kingsport.

Goals have been broken down into three categories by time frame — short-term (one to two years), medium-term (three to five years) and long-term (six years plus). Each one will be measurable and have definable outcomes, according to information provided to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. The summit will be held Oct. 29 from 1-5:15 p.m. and Oct. 30 from 8 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. at the Crockett Amphitheater and Cattails Ballroom at MeadowView.

The first day of the summit will open with the parameters of the process and presentations on trends in other cities. Day two will dig into issues with participants brainstorming the focus areas Kingsport tentatively plans to emphasize in the next five to 10 years.

That list includes 11 focus areas, though Mayor Clark said he would like to see that list narrowed down to eight by the start of the summit. Proposed focus areas include health and wellness, downtown revitalization, destination city investments, branding, housing, employment options, sports and recreation, industrial recruitment, retail recruitment, transportation and infrastructure and education innovation.

Those are broad categories and cover such areas as one commenter identified at He wrote, “How about starting to take care of what we have? There are roads that need repair. Traffic is becoming a problem both downtown and Stone Drive.” That’s covered under transportation and infrastructure.

He also wrote, “We need higher paying jobs other than retail and restaurants. How about the police station Lynn Garden was promised years ago. Our neighborhoods are falling apart. Three high schools would make each other strong. It would save gas money on sports, create local rivalries thus increasing money.” And those issues are covered under employment options, industrial recruitment and education innovation.

But perhaps you see others. If so, we’d like to hear them. As one commenter at wrote, “Invite people from the general public that are under a $50,000 income, people that have a different perspective.”

The mayor can’t invite everyone to attend, but we invite residents to email suggestions for what they think should be on Kingsport’s 10-15 year master plan. Send them to . We’ll list them in this space in several weeks, before the summit takes place.

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