Saturday, April 19, 2014

Opening day: Kingsport officials hope to have sports complex built by spring 2015

SPORTS COMPLEX WILL BE ON THE SITE OF CLAY HILL IN RIVERVIEW, BEHIND DUNBAR STREET


THIS STORY COURTESY THE KINGSPORT TIMES-NEWS, PHOTOS BY THE DOUGLASS WEBSITE - CLICK ON THE PICTURES TO MAKE THEM LARGER

By MATTHEW LANE
mlane@timesnews.net


KINGSPORT — Kingsport’s new softball/baseball complex could cost as much as $6.4 million to build, and if an optional, fifth field is added to the project, the total price could be bumped up another $1 million.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen got an update on the project last week, including these estimated costs, along with conceptual drawings of the site. The BMA also awarded the bid for the site work and approved a lease agreement with the Kingsport Economic Development Board for a portion of the property where the complex will be built.

Kingsport plans to build a new softball/baseball complex on a portion of the old General Shale property along Industry Drive to replace Eastman Chemical Co.’s ballfields on Wilcox Drive. When Eastman announced its $1.6 billion “Project Inspire” reinvestment plan last year, the plan called for a new corporate office building on the site of the company’s ballfields.

Eastman has demolished the old field house and construction has started on its $74 million office building. The building is scheduled to be completed next year.


According to the conceptual plan, the sports complex will have four ballfields, in a wagonwheel design with a centrally located two-story building for scoring, concessions and restrooms. Two of the fields will be 325 feet, one 350-foot championship field with terrace seating and a fourth field at 300 feet.

Assistant to the City Manager Chris McCartt said all of the fields would be skinned (no grass) with various locations to place the bases to provide for greater diversity. The two-story scoring tower was included to help the Kingsport Convention and Visitors Bureau with tournament recruitment, McCartt said.

Earlier plans show a 300-space parking lot and an adjacent playground. These latest drawings have removed the playground and the parking lot now stands at 250 spaces.

The KEDB purchased the 98-acre General Shale property for $2.77 million. Kingsport plans to lease 38 of the acres for the sports complex with the remaining land envisioned as a potential site for an industrial park.

Last week, the BMA approved the lease with the KEDB and at any time over the next 20 years Kingsport can purchase the property for $10,000 an acre or $380,000.


The other action taken by the BMA last week in relation to the project was awarding a contract to Thomas Construction for site work (mass grading, detention pond, retaining wall). The 120-day contract is for approximately $1.25 million.

City leaders have discussed adding a fifth field (at 325 feet) to the complex, which would bump up the site work cost by $245,000 and the overall cost of the project by $1.1 million. The BMA discussed the option of building the fifth field now as opposed to later when the cost would obviously be more.

McCartt said the city would love to see the fifth field added and once construction bids come in (likely in June), then staff would re-evaluate the possibility of adding the field to the project.

“That would put us in a good position for the foreseeable future,” McCartt said.

“What’s the difference in cost from building it now or in five to 10 years?” Vice-Mayor Mike McIntire asked. “I think it’s substantial.”


As it stands, the project is estimated to cost around $6.4 million, not including the $380,000 for the land. A fifth field would increase the final cost by $1.1 million. Potentially $8 million could easily be spent on the project in the long run.

“On average that’s what you’re paying to build a four-plex similar to what we’re proposing,” Mc-Cartt said.

Kingsport bonded $2.9 million last year for the project, the KEDB has committed $1.3 million and to date the city has spent $375,000 on design work. McCartt said for the city to complete the base package (four-field design), an additional $2.3 million needs to be secured, likely from a future bond anticipation note or bond issuance.

When the idea of a sports complex was first discussed back in June, city officials threw out a $3.5 million price tag for the facility and even included that figure in the 2014 capital improvement plan. In September, when the land purchase price was announced, the $3.5 million was still the target number.

But in December, $2.9 million of bond funds was secured for the project and since then city officials have admitted that additional funds would be necessary to complete the project.


                  Kingsport Mayor Dennis Phillips (left) and the Board of Mayor & Aldermen

During last week’s meeting, members of the BMA did not raise a fuss about the projected cost of the project, but in subsequent telephone conversations, they did express their concerns about the estimated cost.

“We are committed to build the ballfields and one of the bigger problems that we seem to have is that we are never able to do a project for the amount that we are initially estimating,” said Mayor Dennis Phillips. “It’s a bad thing to do over and over and I think we need to do a much better job in the future of realizing we have more accurate numbers that reflect the true cost.

“That should be a goal of the (BMA) to make sure it happens.”

At this time, Phillips said he is leaning toward building the fifth field if economically possible.

McIntire offered a similar sentiment, but said he is not comfortable with the dollar amount.

“It’s one of those projects that we really don’t have options with. It’s something Eastman has asked us to do and I think we’re committed to doing it,” McIntire said. “I’d like to wait and see the numbers, but I think if there’s a way to do it now I’d support going ahead, getting it done and doing it right.”


When Eastman asked Kingsport to build a sports complex to replace the one going away at Wilcox Drive, the city also incorporated Eastman’s leagues into its Parks and Recreation Department. In all, the department now oversees 750 youth baseball and softball games and 650 adult softball games within the city. Potentially, 1,800 tournament games, such as AAU and USSSA, could also be played on city fields.




Thursday, April 17, 2014

"Good Friday" Fish Fry

NEW VISION YOUTH
"GOOD FRIDAY FISH FRY FUNDRAISER"
Sponsored by the New Vision Youth.


April 18, 2014

12 NOON until sold out
Please join the group at the Riverview Splash Pad Shelter

CHIPS $0.50.... DRINKS $1.00


SANDWICH SANDWICH
$3.00 W/COLESLAW $4.00

All proceeds go toward the group's education trip to Atlanta in July.

CALL IN ORDERS FOR PICK-UP

JOHNNIE MAE SWAGERTY (423)429-7553
JAQUETTA HALE (423)579-4651

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Your Invitation to the Mayor's Prayer Breakfast in Kingsport

CLICK ON THE ILLUSTRATION TO MAKE IT LARGER


Friday, April 11, 2014

College Looms Large for D-B Students: Tours Help the Decision-Making Process



Those who have been through it, say it's never too late for high school students to start thinking about college.

With that in mind, senior members of Kingsport's New Vision Youth from Dobyns-Bennett, paid the first of 6 visits to college campuses.

Maryville College was first on the list. The picturesque university, its stately buildings and rolling acres, are on the east side of Maryville in Blount County, Tennessee, gateway to the western end of the Great Smoky Mountains.

That was impressive enough for some of the high school students.


"It's a good experience so far," says D-B junior Rashad Hunter, making his first college visit. He plans to major in film, directing and producing.

"I want to know what their majors are, what programs I can do afterwards and how the school can benefit me later on," he says.

Those feelings are echoed by the folks on the other end of the scruntiny.. the administrators being eyeballed by the prospective students. At Maryville College, the school holds an annual "Meet Maryville" where potential students can tour the school, talk with instructors and see what higher education the college has to offer.

 
"It's vital for students to find a college that's the right fit for them," says Dr. Tom Bogart, Maryville College president. "It's important for students to get a flavor of what life is like here, or any college. We have instructors in our classrooms ready to answer questions about the courses of study.. we also have current students who can tell of campus life and activities. I'm hoping that potential students understand that college is not just some big, abstract idea, but that it's really part of living a rich and fulfilling life."




The Kingsport group was welcomed with open arms.

"In some ways, Kingsport is just the right distance from Maryville," Dr. Bogart says. "Close enough to go home occasionally, but yet far enough to not need to, if necessary. We like the hometown feel of our campus, where everybody gets to see and hear different things while they're visiting. Maryville is a lot like Kingsport, a nice friendly city. Visiting here is a chance for prospective students to compare notes and talk about what they've seen and heard. They get to go through all of that together. Peer support and encouragement is important."


This is DB freshman Cadijah Williams' third college visit, in her quest to either be a kindergarten teacher or go into the Navy.

"It's fun visiting colleges," she says, having been to Austin Peay State University for the 2009 Governor's Highway Safety Initiative for Teens, and Tennessee Tech, host to last year's Tennessee Teen Institute. "Maryville College has a very pretty campus, with lots of outdoor stuff to do. That's important to me because you don't stay in the dorm room all the time. You get to be outside and meet new people, hang out and do different things."



Other colleges and universities on the visit list for the New Vision Youth upper classmen are ETSU, Milligan College, UT-Knoxville, Northeast State and Tusculum College in Greeneville, TN.

"We've done college tours three times now over the past few years," says New Vision Youth Director Johnnie Mae Swagerty. "It teaches them preparations for college, knowing what things to take, due dates for college scholarship applications, things like that. They can also find out if what they're interested in doing, can be a major or minor while they're studying. They also learn the rules and regulations for going to college."

Swagerty credits Maryville College alumnus Don Hickman for helping arrange the New Vision Youth visit to Blount County. Hickman, a former Kingsport resident, DB and Douglass School graduate, was on the alumni selection committee that chose Dr. Bogard as Maryville College's 11th president 4 years ago.


Dr. Bogart says, it's a small world when it comes to picking the right school for higher education.. often a game of "shop around."

"If we're not the right place, that's perfectly all right too," he says. "Picking a school can be difficult. Our job is to help them understand the characteristics they're looking for in their search for the right place. All we ask is that potential students give us an opportunity to show them what we've got, the atmosphere and the rich culture we have."

"If we're the right place for them, we will welcome them with open arms," says Dr. Bogart. "If we're not the right fit, they're still welcome here any time, because we see ourselves as a community asset for the region. We want them to know things about Maryville College, and perhaps they can tells someone else about something they liked here."


Created with flickr slideshow.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

New Vision Youth Trip Fundraiser


Please help support the New Vision Youth's trip to Atlanta in July.

Sports basket to be given away on Father's Day, June 15, 2014.  Items in the basket represent the Tennessee Vols, the Kentucky Wildcats, the East Tennessee State Buccaneers and the Tennessee Titans.

Tickets are on sale for one dollar apiece.

All proceeds go towards the group's trip to the historical sites in Atlanta, GA in July.

For tickets and more information, call Johnnie Mae Swagerty (423) 429-7553 or Jaquetta Hale (423) 579-4651.

Eastman's Stuckey among top 100 influential blacks


Eastman Chemical Co. Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Perry Stuckey was recently named by Savoy Magazine as one of the top 100 influential blacks in corporate America.


The Savoy Top 100 is the definitive listing of African American executives, influencers and achievers impacting corporate America. Selection factors for the list include corporate sector influence, scholastic achievement, career growth, community outreach and recognition.

Stuckey, whose 25-year career spans various business and human resources roles, joined Eastman in 2011. He is responsible for Eastman’s human resources strategy and services worldwide. Stuckey is a member of several human resources organizations including the Executive Network Human Resources Round Table and the Conference Board’s Council for Chief Human Resources Officers.

Stuckey also serves on the board of directors for Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s “Healthier Tennessee” initiative and for the Kingsport YMCA.

The 2014 Savoy Top 100 list is available online at: www.savoynetwork.com 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Easter egg hunt at V.O. Dobbins

• KINGSPORT — Easter Egg Hunt and a Movie will be held Friday, April 4th, 2014 at the V.O. Dobbins Sr. Complex.

The cost is $1 per participant.

There will be three age division hunts for children who will search for eggs filled with treats, toys and prizes.

Inside the family can enjoy the movie “Here Comes Peter Cottontail.”

The doors open at 11:30 a.m. and the movie will start at 12:15 p.m.

The Dobbins Complex is located at 301 Louis St.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Commemorating the 46th anniversary of Kingsport's March for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Upon his Assassination

MOMENT OF SILENCE FOR DR. KING: AT 6:05 EASTERN TIME (5:05 CENTRAL) ON APRIL 4TH, 1968, THE REVEREND DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. WAS SHOT TO DEATH ON THE SECOND-FLOOR BALCONY OF THE LORRAINE MOTEL IN MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE. EVERYONE IS ASKED TO PAUSE FOR A MOMENT OF SILENCE AT THAT TIME TO HONOR THIS FALLEN LEADER - Pastor Kenneth Calvert




Below is a reprint of a story on the Douglass website from April 1, 2008, that commemorated the 40th anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination in Memphis on April 4th, 1968, Kingsport's black community joined with the white community the following Sunday, April 7th, to march for peace in his honor. The picture and the text of the article below was published in the Kingsport Times-News the next day, April 8, 1968

Be sure to watch WKPT-TV NewsChannel 19 on Friday, April 4th for a story on this march. The story airs on the station's 6 & 11 PM news on Channel 19



CLICK ON THIS PICTURE TAKEN AT FIVE POINTS FOR A CLOSER VIEW (SEE WHO YOU RECOGNIZE--THE FIRST THREE PEOPLE FROM THE RIGHT TO LEFT ON THE FRONT ROW ARE BOB WEBB, CALVIN SNEED AND REV. WILLIAM H. STOKLEY..HORACE CURRY IS FIFTH FROM THE RIGHT ON THE FRONT ROW, AND REV. JOHN PRICE IS SEVENTH FROM THE RIGHT)

400 March in King Memorial
NO INCIDENTS

by Joan Roesgen
Times-News Staff Writer

Down the center of East Sulivan Street they came, as naturally as they would have taken a walk on any sunny Sunday afternoon.
They marched five and six abreast, falling into step easily and their number filled the length of the entire block.

There were about 400 participants in Kingsport's first demonstration march, Safety Director Jim Eisenbise estimated, and about 50 of them were white.

No grimness, no shoving, no shouting marred the memorial program for Dr. Martin Luther King. They didn't speak much along the route, perhaps because of the occasion, but more likely because a mile is a hefty hike on a warm day, and it was easier to do it silently.

But there was no need for words or placards anyway--black crepe paper arm bands clearly announced the purpose of their journey to Church Circle.
The Negroes gathered first in Riverview for a prayer service and were joined there by several whites, among them two Catholic nuns and Rev. Douglas Berndt, pastor of St. Paul's Episcopal Church.
Rev. Brandt fell in step with Rev. John Price, pastor of St. Mark's Methodist Church; and Horace Curry, president of the local NAACP chapter; and the three of them led the way through the railroad underpass to Market Street.

They were met there by police cruisers which escorted and followed them the length of the march--up Maple to Center and East Sevier, on past the Safety Building, where the flag flew above their heads at half-mast.

City policemen and sheriff's deputies were stationed all along the way. They stopped traffic at the intersections, patrolled back and forth in motorcycles, and paced the sidewalks in an impressive display of preparedness.

However, not a single incident, not even a sour look was reported during the hour-long march, Eisenbise said.

At Church Circle, the marchers gathered around the center traffic island for a brief program. They offered prayer, paid tribute to Dr. King, and sang "My Country 'Tis of Thee" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic" before marching back to Shiloh Baptist Church on East Sevier.

It was for this last quarter mile lap that their ranks swelled to about 400, as Church Circle spectators stepped off the curb to join them.

Among the group was E. L. Scrantom, Kingsport county court magistrate, whose district includes Riverview.
Scrantom didn't want to walk, he said, "because I'm opposed to all marches on general principle. I had to wrestle with my conscience to come today, but I decided it was my responsibility to the people I represent."

There were young people and old people in the march, but most of them were married couples with children running at their heels to keep up.

One Negro teenager with a broken leg hobbled along determined to make it to the finish. He did.


When a little Negro boy whimpered with tired legs, a white man hoisted him over his shoulder and carried him to the church where, with much hand-shakinging all around, the marchers dispersed.