Monday, June 20, 2016

New Resource to Help End Homelessness in Kingsport


FROM KERMIT ADDINGTON, WITH THE OPEN DOORS PROGRAM TO HELP END HOMELESSNESS IN OUR CITY--CLICK ON THE PICTURES TO MAKE THEM BIGGER



We are so excited to announce that Eastman Credit Union has donated us a HOUSE.

Yes, you read that correctly; We got a house.

We are so thankful, and honored that they see our mission and goals .

The house is located on Steadman Street in Kingsport. We intend to turn this home into an emergency homeless shelter like no other in Kingsport.

Open Doors Kingsport is on Facebook. Make sure to stay tuned over the next few days for a chance to name this home, and a chance to possibly win a gift certificate!


Sunday, June 19, 2016

‘It’s the highlight of their school year’

New Vision Youth celebrate underclassman prom

THIS STORY COURTESY THE KINGSPORT TIMES-NEWS

By CALVIN SNEED
Community contributor


KINGSPORT — Who says a prom has to be during the school year?
Members of Kingsport’s New Vision Youth say, “Not so fast.” Their recent prom was a rousing success, even though school has already let out for the summer!

For 15 years now, the New Vision Youth headed by Johnnie Mae Swagerty, has been giving the youth of Kingsport the same kind of prom that upper classmen get at area high schools, except this one is summer-friendly.
Swagerty and her New Vision Youth parents and chaperones hold two separate proms on the same day, one for children ages 4 through 12, and another one for older students, ages 13 through 17.

“Many of the kids don’t get to go to proms,” Swagerty said. “They don’t get to experience the feeling of going to prom, dressing up and showing off to their friends. Even in their casual clothes, they can come here and have a good time, eat some good food, dance to the music and above all, have fun.
“For many of them, it’s the highlight of their school year.”

The New Vision Youth prom had its humble beginnings in 2001 in the cafeteria of the Head Start facility in the old V.O. Dobbins Community Center, the old Douglass High School. As the event caught on, the next one was held in the old Boys and Girls Club in the former Riverview Apartments on Booker Street. From there, it moved to the banquet room at the Elks Lodge and the old 229 Club on Lincoln Street (now Martin Luther King Drive). Then for several years it moved back and forth between the Kingsport Renaissance Center and the Civic Auditorium.


This year, it was held in a formally decorated Douglass Community Room in the V.O. Dobbins Sr. Complex.

“The spirit of the prom has followed us wherever we’d held it,” Swagerty said. “We do it from the heart, and the graduates who have attended over the years still talk about how much fun they had.”


The highlight of each and every prom is the crowning of the royalty. In the smaller children category, 12-year-old Isiah Dukes, a sixth-grader at John Sevier Middle School, was chosen prince of the prom. Seven-year-old Anna Fields, a second-grader at Central Heights Elementary, was selected princess.


Among the older students, 14-year-old Ayona Barlow, a ninth-grader at Dobyns-Bennett, was crowned queen of the 2016 New Vision Youth Prom. The honor of king of the prom went to 14-yearold Jaquan Thomas, also a ninth-grader at D-B.

There were other winners, too. Kids who found a card under their chairs were given gift cards to a local restaurant. ... Others were picked as winners in the dance competitions. Everyone was judged on how much fun they were having, how courteous they were to their friends, and how mannerly they interacted with others. That’s a strict requirement with Swagerty.


“This year, we had 25 kids in the younger category and 12 among the older children, and they were well-behaved,” said Swagerty. “As a group, we insist on that. They are taught that to be in the New Vision Youth group, they have to respect each other and treat their friends the way they would want to be treated. Respect is something they can take with them the rest of their lives.”


As the New Vision Youth prom seemingly gets bigger every year, Swagerty and the parents who support the program welcome new participants.

“Whether it’s 40 kids, a dozen, even one or two kids ... in this program, we will always have a prom for them.”


A SLIDE SHOW OF THE 2016 NEW VISION YOUTH PROM

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Reunion of the Ages Announcement and Recent Gospel Songfest Event


CLICK ON THE PICTURES TO MAKE THEM LARGER



The Reunion of the Ages get-together is rapidly approaching!

The mission of the Reunion of the Ages is to preserve, hnor and delebrate the history and the heritage of former black educational institutions in the Morristown-Hamblen County area, in conjunction with present and future needs of the community.

The event will be held on July 28-31, 2016. Registration and more information are available at the event website: reunionoftheages.wix.com/reunionoftheages

The host hotel is the Mainstay Suites, 410 Pine Mountain Road, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee 37863. Phone number 1-888-428-8350.

THE REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS THURSDAY, JUNE 30TH!

Contact Walter Evans, 423-586-3957 or Talmar Bryan, 423-736-8482 if you have questions.



Recently, the Reunion of the Ages held its annual Gospel Songfest at the Jefferson Middle School in Jefferson City, Tennessee.

Below are pictures and videos of some of the featured songs at the musical concert.










Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Douglass School Commencement (Final)

CLICK ON THE PROGRAM:





Congratulations to my good friends and former school mates at Douglass High School in Kingsport, TN. Today, the class of 1966 celebrates our 50th graduation anniversary.

-- Don Hickman

Editor's Note:  This was the last commencement at Douglass High School, Kingsport.  The school closed for integration shortly after this commencement in June, 1966.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

New Vision Youth to hold 15th Youth Prom


KINGSPORT — New Vision Youth will hold its 15th annual Youth Prom, Saturday in the V.O. Dobbins Center Douglass Room, at 301 Louis St.

The prom for children ages 4 to 12 will be held from 4-6:30 p.m., and the prom for teens ages 13 to 18 will be held from 7-10 p.m.

The free, chaperoned event is open to all children in the Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia area.
New Vision Youth’s Johnnie Mae Swagerty said attendees don’t need to wear formal prom attire, “Sunday best will be fine.” A prince and princess will be crowned in the 4-12 age category, and the winners will receive a pink sash and trophy.
A king and queen will be crowned in the 13-18 age category, with the winners receiving a purple sash and trophy.

Music will be provided by DJ Smiles, free refreshments will be served and photographs will be made.

Individuals who would like to donate cookies, chips or Capri Sun for the event can bring those items to the V.O. Dobbins Center this week between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

The event is being sponsored by New Vision Youth in partnership with South Central Kingsport Community Development, the Kingsport Parks and Recreation Department and Bays Mountain Park.

For more information about the event, contact Swagerty at (423) 429-7553.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Pausing to Remember our Veterans




As a 2016 tribute to our veterans in the Douglass alumni family and the Riverview community, we salute some of the Army, Marine and Navy veterans they descended from.

These pictures were posted in the 1945 Douglass Tiger annual to honor the school's alumni contributions to World War II.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

SW VA Pastor to speak at Women’s Day program Sunday at Ebenezer Baptist



KINGSPORT — A Women’s Day program will be held Sunday, May 22, 2016 at Ebenezer Baptist Church, 1026 Maple Street, beginning at 3 p.m. The guest speaker will be Pastor Carolyn Smith of Macedonia Baptist Church in Applachia, Virginia. The public is invited.

Helping the homeless


From purple ribbons to raise awarness, to an event to give aid, the New Vision Youth members recently sponsored the first in what is hoped to be an annual Homeless Resource Fair in partnership with Open Door Homeless and Preaching Christ Church in Kingsport.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Golf Tournament Suspended



ANNOUNCEMENT:


THE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF DOUGLASS SCHOLARSHIP GOLF TOURNAMENT HAS BEEN SUSPENDED.

Organizers say the purse giveaway will go on as scheduled, but the golf tournament planned for Warriors Path State Park on May 21, 2016 has been suspended.



Thursday, May 12, 2016

Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Board Meeting Scheduled

There will be a meeting of the Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Association Board on Saturday, May 14, 2016.

The meeting will be held at 12 PM Noon in the Eastman Board Room, 2nd floor, of the V.O. Dobbins Sr. Complex in Kingsport.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Hawkins high school students helping revive Swift's May Day tradition

THIS STORY COURTESY THE KINGSPORT TIMES-NEWS

Jeff Bobo• May 4, 2016 at 1:48 PM
jbobo@timesnews.net



ROGERSVILLE — For decades, the annual May Day celebration, featuring a picnic and a variety of fun activities, was a spring tradition for students at the historic Swift College and high school
The highlight was always the wrapping of the Maypole, which the girls performed wearing their best dresses.



It’s been more than 60 years since the all-African-American Swift College closed and more than 50 years since the main facility, which was converted into a segregated high school and closed its doors in 1964, was demolished.


But the May Day celebration remains one of the fondest memories of alumni, and about five years ago they revived the tradition with an annual May Day outing at Rogersville City Park.



On Saturday, however, the alumni hope to begin the process of passing the tradition to the younger generations.
For the first time since the celebration was revived, there has been a concerted effort to get students from Cherokee and Volunteer high schools involved.



Stella Gudger, who attended Swift after it became a high school, is now the Swift College Museum curator and helps organize alumni events.

The original May Day celebrations were held at Swift Park.


“Nobody knows when it started because there was always a May Day celebration as far back as anyone could remember,” Gudger said. “It was an annual event started by the college, and after the college ceased to be, and the campus became a high school, of course the high school kids were more than happy to carry on the tradition.”



Gudger recalled, “We would always wrap the Maypole. That was the big thing. The girls would dress up in their prettiest dresses, and they would match the color of the ribbons on the Maypole. We would also have a fashion show, and girls who took home economics, we would actually model our outfits that we made during the year. We had a baseball game and a picnic, and it was just a full day of activities.”



Saturday’s event at Rogersville City Park had a full slate of activities as well, although there was no baseball game on the schedule. Gudger said she hopes to expand the program every year as more people become interested in participating.

Saturday’s event featured a cake auction, bingo, live music and dancing.


A drawing was held that awarded a $200 scholarship to a student from each high school.



The highlight of Saturday’s event was the wrapping of the Maypole, and this year’s participants were seniors from Cherokee and Volunteer. Students from Clinch were invited as well, but they already had an event scheduled, Gudger said.



After the day’s activities, everyone reconvened at the Price Public Community Center and Swift Museum at 6 p.m. for an evening of entertainment and relaxation.



CLICK THE ARROW ABOVE FOR DRONE FOOTAGE OF THE MAY POLE DECORATION

“Each high picked four girls to participate in the wrapping of the Maypole, and they wore their prom dresses,” Gudger said. “We’re really trying to be more diversified. We want people to know about the history of Swift and our preservation efforts, and that’s why we’re inviting everyone to come out and share the May Day celebration with us.”

CLICK THE ARROW BELOW FOR THE 2016 SWIFT "KING & QUEEN" CORONATION:


CLICK THE ARROW BELOW FOR THE SWIFT COLLEGE SCHOOL SONG:


BELOW IS A SLIDE SHOW OF THE 2016 SWIFT REUNION MAY POLE CELEBRATION (TURN SPEAKERS ON):



Friday, May 6, 2016

The Great Golden Gathering 2015 Banquet DVD's are available!


Last year, alumni from 15 former African-American high schools from Big Stone Gap and
Appalachia, down to Bristol, Kingsport, Johnson City and Greeneville, on up to Rogersville, then down to Morristown, Newport and Jefferson City and reaching Knoxville.... all got together and celebrated their combined legacies at the first Great Golden Gathering 2015.

Now you can have a souvenir of the banquet that celebrated the good times the schools had back in the day. The banquet, held on August 29, 2015, had songs, laughter, friendly school rivalries, a special message from Rev. Jesse Jackson, and a moving speech by Tennessee NAACP president Gloria Sweet-Love.

The DVD's are $15.00 apiece and is a must for folks' history collections.


To get one, or reserve a copy, please see Andra Watterson with the Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Association, or any alumni member with any of the 15 alumni associations representing the schools:

Bland (Appalachia-Central), Big Stone Gap
Arty-Lee High School
Douglass, Bristol VA
Slater, Bristol TN
Douglas, Elizabethton
Langston, Johnson City
Douglass, Kingsport
Swift, Rogersville
George Clem, Greeneville
Morristown West (Morristown College), Morristown
Tanner, Newport
Nelson Merry, Jefferson City
Austin, Knoxville

(Arty-Lee, George Clem, Morristown, Tanner, Nelson Merry, and Austin alumni, please contact Calvin Sneed, douglassriverview@gmail.com)>

Great Golden Gathering Banquet DVD's Now Available!

It was the highlight of the biggest reunion of African-American alumni in all of Upper East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

Last year, alumni from 15 former African-American high schools from Big Stone Gap and 

Appalachia, down to Bristol, Kingsport, Johnson City and Greeneville, on up to Rogersville, then down to Morristown, Newport and Jefferson City and reaching Knoxville.... all got together and celebrated their combined legacies at the first Great Golden Gathering 2015.

Now you can have a souvenir of the banquet that celebrated the good times the schools had back in the day.  The banquet, held on August 29, 2015, had songs, laughter, friendly school rivalries, a special message from Rev. Jesse Jackson, and a moving speech by Tennessee NAACP president Gloria Sweet-Love.


The DVD's are $15.00 apiece and is a must for folks' history collections.  


To get one, or reserve a copy, please see Andra Watterson with the Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Association, or any alumni member with any of the 15 alumni associations representing the schools:


Bland (Appalachia-Central), Big Stone Gap

Arty-Lee High School 
Douglass, Bristol VA
Slater, Bristol TN
Douglas, Elizabethton
Langston, Johnson City
Douglass, Kingsport
Swift, Rogersville
George Clem, Greeneville
Morristown West (Morristown College), Morristown
Tanner, Newport 
Nelson Merry, Jefferson City 
Austin, Knoxville

(Arty-Lee, George Clem, Morristown, Tanner, Nelson Merry, and Austin alumni, please contact Calvin Sneed, douglassriverview@gmail.com)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Upcoming Golf Tournament Benefits Alumni Scholarship Fund

THE GOLF TOURNAMENT HAS BEEN SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY...



One of the biggest golf tournaments in the area will be hosted in Kingsport this month.  In addition to a good game of golf, lucky patrons will also get the chance to bid on designer handbags, professional sports items, and plans are in the works for a hole-in-one on one particular shot, could net one lucky golfer A BRAND NEW CAR!

And the best part?  Proceeds benefit the scholarship fund for the Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Association.


"It's all about helping the kids," says Gary Maxwell, co-organizer of the event.  "If the kids can get into college, they'll make productive citizens.  We hope the scholarships will help them get to that goal."


The Alumni Scholarship Golf Tournament will be held on Saturday, May 21st at Warriors Path State Park in Kingsport.  Maxwell says, the tournament will take up to 32 teams, and right now 12 teams are committed to play.

"The driver range opens at 12:30 PM," he says, "then a shotgun start at 1 PM.  Each team consists of 4 members, modified select, that includes each player hitting three drives, three approach shots, and three putts.  The cost is $55 dollars per person individual, or $250 dollars for a team signing up together."



"It's going to be a good day to play golf," Maxwell says.

Members of the Sons and Daughters of Douglass will be helping out at the golf course that day.

Then there are the 'goodies' that come along with the tournament.

"We'll be raffling off some major league baseball sports items, also some NFL, NBA and NASCAR things," he says.  "One of the Detroit Tigers pitchers, Daniel Norris from Johnson City, is donating some items for us to raffle off.  I've also talked to (Washington Nationals Baseball right fielder) Bryce Harper about donating to us some sunglasses he promotes.  We'll also have tickets that have been donated, to the night NASCAR race at the Bristol Motor Speedway."


And then... there's the possibility of a new car for one golfer.

"We are very close to securing a donation for a hole-in-one, on Number 14, which will play about 180," Maxwell says.  "There's never been a hole-in-one right there.  The prize is a brand new car, valued between $20,000 and $25,000 dollars.  All the winner has to do if they drop one, is pay the taxes, title and insurance.  There's no additional cost to win the car."


For the ladies, two special raffles give them the chance to sport one of two name-brand handbags worth hundreds of dollars.

"The first one is a blue Michael Kors luxury handbag with a strap, and the other is a striped Prada that also has a strap," says Charlotte Maxwell, who secured them.  "The quality of the leather is what makes them so special.. it's a very soft texture.  You can always tell the originals by the stitching and the solid gold handles and markings on them."


Tickets for the raffles to win one of the handbags are $5.00 apiece.

"Names, address and phone numbers are important," she says, if folks want to enter the raffles.  "If we aren't able to do the raffles at the golf tournament, we'll do them at one of the Sons and Daughters of Douglass alumni meetings, then call that person and let them know they've won."


All in all, a wonderful golf tournament for the people who play, two fantastic handbags for the ladies who don't play golf, plus plenty of food for visitors to eat while watching the tournament, and snacks for the golfers. 

But the kids going off to college, will be the real winners.

"They are our next generation," Maxwell says.  "A lot of kids need financial help once they get to school, if they're unable to get it through the lottery or their parents cannot afford it."



"Everybody who participates in the golf tournament, no matter how they do it, will help some kids who may really need it," he says.


Monday, May 2, 2016

Celebrate our DB Graduates

The Class of 2016 and their parents, friends and the neighborhood cordially invite you to a graduation ceremony honoring our community graduates.

The event will be Saturday, May 14, 2016 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM in the Riverview Community Room on Wheatley Street (beside the tennis courts) in Kingsport.


We hope to see you there as we congratulate our 2016 Dobyns-Bennett High School Seniors from the community.


Refreshments will be served and pictures will be taken.


Parents, please RSVP by Sunday, May 10th to Johnnie Mae Swagerty (423) 427-7553, Jaquetta Hale (423) 579-4651, Mrs. Jill Ellis (423) 246-3524, or Doug Releford (423) 288-6040.


Thank you for your support!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Sons and Daughters of Douglass Board Meeting Scheduled



There will be a meeting of the Sons and Daughters of Douglass Board of Directors on Saturday, April 9, 2016.

The meeting will be in the Eastman Board Room, 2nd floor of the V.O. Dobbins Sr. Complex, beginning at 1 PM.

On the agenda are final preparations for our huge Golf Tournament next month.

All board members and interest alumni are asked to attend the board meeting.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Kingsport BMA honors former alderman Richard Watterson

THIS STORY COURTESY THE KINGSPORT TIMES-NEWS

By MATTHEW LANE
mlane@timesnews.net


KINGSPORT — Richard Watterson was the first African-American elected to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, serving for 24 years, with more than half of his tenure in the position of vice mayor.

On Tuesday, city leaders recognized Watterson for his long and “tireless” service to the Model City by proclaiming April 6 “Richard Watterson Day.” The BMA also offered Watterson an early birthday wish — he turns 90 next month.

“Richard Watterson is an individual who has taught our community that leadership is about action, being a true community trustee, and meeting the need placed before you,” Vice Mayor Mike McIntire said, reading from the proclamation.

The proclamation came at the beginning of the BMA’s regular meeting Tuesday night. Watterson, who was accompanied by his wife Barbara and other family members, sat in the front row and stayed for the entire hour-long meeting.

“Richard and I go back 66 years,” said Alderman Tom Parham. “He’s been a model, a mentor and a friend for a lot of years.”

“I raised him from a pup,” Watterson joked.

Watterson graduated from Douglass High School, attended Swift Memorial Jr. College and Livingston College in Salisbury, N.C., and served in the U.S. Navy from 1943 through 1946, with most of his time spent on the USS Nassau.

According to the proclamation, Watterson served on a number of state and local boards, including the state Board of Legal Services, the Board of Directors of the Kingsport Boy’s Club, was the state commissioner for human development, the first chairman of the Riverview Branch Boy’s Club, the president of the Esquire Club, and a member of the Kiwanis Club and Optimist Club.

Watterson first won election to the BMA in 1973 — the first African-American to do so. He served until 1997 and during his long tenure on the board, he served as vice mayor from 1981 to 1995. According to the proclamation, Watterson garnered the top vote count during many of those city elections.

“During his service on the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, Richard was a tireless leader for growth and modernization,” McIntire said, with the proclamation further describing Watterson as having “many talents and abundant community spirit.”

“We wish to uphold and commend the important part he has played in the life of our city,” McIntire said.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Power out in parts of Kingsport on Good Friday

A major power outage this morning is effecting dozens of Kingsport residents and briefly shut down Kingsport Emergency Communications Center's phone system (911).


Major power outage effects Kingsport Emergency Communications Center
Around 5:45 AM Friday morning, a major power outage in downtown Kingsport effected dozens of homes and several businesses.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

New Vision Youth Fish Fry on Good Friday

  

KINGSPORT — New Vision Youth will host a Fish Fry Fundraiser on Good Friday from noon until sold out at the Riverview Community Room, located beside the tennis courts on Wheatley Street.

Several different types of sandwiches will be available for purchase as well as chips and drinks.

All proceeds go to support the cost of New Vision Youth’s educational cultural trip to Savannah, Ga., in July.

For more information, call (423) 429-7553 or (423) 579-4651.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Alumni Board Meeting



The Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Board will meet Saturday, March 19, 2016 in the Eastman Board Room of the V.O. Dobbins Sr. Complex tower.

The meeting will convene at 1 PM.

‘Kicking Butts’


About 30 children participated in the annual ‘Kick Butts Day’ on Wednesday at the VO Dobbins Community Center in Kingsport.

The event — now in its 15th year — included an essay contest (on why tobacco and smoking are bad), drawings and a pizza party. 


Kids learned from local health and education officials about the dangers of smoking and tobacco use and took a pledge not to do either when they grow up. 


On Kick Butts Day, kids demand that tobacco companies stop marketing products to them and encourage elected officials to help reduce youth tobacco use. 


In the picture above (courtesy the Kingsport Times-News) above, participants take turns ‘kicking’ a punching bag to show how they plan to ‘kick butts’ and not start smoking. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Sons and Daughters of Douglass Board Meeting

The scheduled meeting of the Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Board of Directors is postponed from this Saturday, March 12th.

The rescheduled meeting will be held on Saturday, March 19, 2016 in the Eastman Board Room of the V.O. Dobbins Sr. Complex tower at 1 PM.

Please make plans to attend.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Long-awaited plan to extend MLK Drive: Another option in and out of Riverview


"They promised us that MLK Drive would be extended almost 10 years ago when they renamed it after Dr. King.  And then they just didn't do it."

The Riverview resident who unveiled the new street sign at the renaming of Lincoln Street between Wilcox Drive and Dunbar Street, says it's been frustrating watching the city do other road projects, but not finish the one that benefits the Riverview community.

The city of Kingsport has now announced plans to extend Dr. Martin Luther King Drive with an extention into the newly opened Brickyard Park and then on to the Cherokee Street/CSX Railroad crossing downtown.



Jack Pierce, Sr. did the unveiling of the renamed street on January 21, 2008. 

"I thought it was a wonderful thing," he remembers, "and the thought of expanding it to downtown was good, too.  Mayor (Dennis) Phillips had said he was in favor of extending the street to downtown.  We'd been wanting it in Riverview for a long time because there are only two ways in and out of here, Lincoln and Wheatley Street and both of them are on the same side of the neighborhood."


But then, efforts to extend the street past the dead end at Dunbar Street abruptly stopped.  With no explanation, Pierce says.

"It was like they just shut the idea down," he says.  "They just didn't talk about it anymore.  It was very frustrating.  They never said 'well we'll do it next year,' or 'we ran out of money,' or 'we've got another priority that we have to spend the money on.'  We could have understood it over here if they'd just said something, anything.  But they just said nothing and never mentioned it again.'


In a February 24, 2016 article in the Kingsport Times-News about a city public works presentation on upcoming road projects, it was mentioned that one of the three projects the city will begin next year, is extending Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive to Brickyard Park, and to Cherokee Street where it crosses the CSX Railroad.  The project is expected to cost $1.5 million dollars.

"It's a little surprising to me that it took Brickyard Park to get the ball rolling on extending MLK," Pierce says.  "Would the city have done it, without the park?  That's a good question.  All of these projects they proposed, that didn't have something to kick-start them.. they wanted sidewalks on Stone Drive.  How many people walk on Stone Drive?  They wanted a bike lane on Center Street, so they narrowed it down to 2 lanes and put in those bike lanes.  You might not see a bike a day on Center Street."

Today he wonders why the street wasn't extended, even while the brickyard was operating (General Shale shut down its Kingsport operations in 2009.


Pierce says, for years Riverview residents had to go in the opposite direction to get to downtown.. first east on Lincoln, then north on Wilcox under the railroad underpass, then north on Sullivan to Main Street and downtown.  "We never asked for anything the city didn't promise us," he says.  "Just fulfill your promise to the folks here."

Efforts to reach the city to get specifics about when the road construction begins and where the long-awaited route will be, were unsuccessful.  Right now, there's no news about it, except that according to the newspaper article, construction begins sometime next year.


Pierce says, one day, he'd like to see the name 'Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive,' extended the entire length of Lincoln Street to the John B. Dennis Bypass.

"In Bristol, Virginia Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard runs from the black neighborhood on through downtown, crosses the state line and connects to Bristol, Tennessee's black neighborhood.  I was hoping they would have taken MLK all the way out.  Right now, it's just a black neighborhood thing in Kingsport, maybe 3, 4 blocks long.  Dr. King's name is recognized around the country and around the world.. his work transcends out of the black community.  Taking the street named after him out of the black neighborhood is acknowledging the influence that he had on everyone."


Pierce says, he's not worried that the upcoming extension of MLK Drive into Brickyard Park and to downtown will increase the traffic in the Riverview Community.

"There'll be some traffic with Eastman people using it as a shortcut," he says, "and maybe some baseball people using it to get to the park and not Industry Drive.  I would think that most of the traffic will probably still use Industry Drive and the new entrance at the Cherokee Street crossing."

"After all these years, I'm just glad the city is fulfilling its promise," he says.  "It's all we ever wanted them to do."