KINGSPORT – Kingsport plans to enter the bond market later this year and issue just under $ 20 million in bonds.
The funds will go towards a variety of capital projects, including renovations to the old Sullivan North, the creation of a pump runway at Brickyard Park and a new outdoor amphitheater at Bays Mountain Park.
A trip to the bond market is something Kingsport does this time around every year to fund projects approved by the Council of Mayors and Aldermen during the annual budget process. The pandemic put capital spending on hold last year, but with life largely returning to normal, the city is also resuming its annual bond issuance on schedule.
For the most part, what’s in this year’s bond issue are last year’s plans, said City Manager Chris McCartt.
“We took a year off for the majority of the investment projects that we would have linked and restructured much of our cash flow during the pandemic so that we could process the necessary investment items,” McCartt said. “What we’re looking at now is a combination of new ones, but the majority are those that weren’t funded (last year), but will be funded this year.”
The BMA approved the $ 19.75 million bond issue at its last regular meeting. The Times News spoke to members of the city’s leadership team, a number of department heads and the school system to learn more about some of the notable projects that will be funded with the bonds.
ABOUT THE PROJECTS
• Modernization of school facilities: $ 6 million.
A majority of these dollars will be used to renovate and modernize the former Sullivan North High School campus.
Kingsport purchased the property in 2016 from Sullivan County and plans to make it the new John Sevier Middle School by 2023. Kingsport City Schools plans to spend around $ 18 million on northern renovations over the next two years .
“We’re still in the architectural process, but (the renovations) will be what you probably suspect …” said Andy True, KCS deputy superintendent.
• Pumping track and lighting: $ 1.4 million.
Kingsport recently opened the new Scott Adams Memorial Skate Park in Brickyard Park. The new facility will be directly in front of the ball fields.
Adjacent to the skate park there will be a new mountain bike course, commonly referred to as a pump track. The design for this course will be underway soon, McCartt said.
• Bays Mountain Amphitheater: $ 950,000.
Park Superintendent Rob Cole said the current amphitheater has served Bays Mountain Park since the park opened, but is now in various stages of disrepair. It lacks proper stage coverage and has accessibility issues, Cole noted.
Because of this, Kingsport is partnering with Eastman to share the cost of the new structure, which will be built in what is now the lower bowl of deer habitat. The million dollar project provides for an amphitheater roughly the same size as the current one (340 seats) with a covered stage, bathrooms, storage space and improved access. Cole said the project will likely go out to tender by the end of November with a first shovelful of dirt slated for March.
• Expansion of the Justice Center: $ 400,000.
For more than a decade, city leaders have talked about expanding the Justice Center to bring all judicial functions under one roof while providing additional space for the Kingsport Police Department. The idea was to extend the footprint of the building into the adjacent parking lot. Design work is expected to begin at the end of winter.
“With the relocation of city services to Broad Street and with the need to improve court security and provide a more centralized location for citizens, it seemed pragmatic to make these changes,” Police Chief Dale Phipps said. . “The Justice Center is almost 32 years old and the city’s police service has grown over the years. Ultimately our family has grown and we need more space.
• Recycling convenience stores: $ 300,000.
“During the curbside recycling break, we plan to add new community recycling drop-off points and improve some of the existing sites to make the experience more convenient for the customer,” said Deputy City Manager Ryan McReynolds. “The advantage of this investment is that it adds value even after curbside recycling resumes. It often happens that citizens wish to drop off larger amounts of recycling material than curbside recycling is able to handle and this will provide a solution. “
• Kingsport Fire Department: $ 575,000.
The bond issue includes $ 300,000 for improvements to various fire stations and $ 275,000 for the initial design of a new No. 2 fire station. KFD officials recommend the construction of a new fire station. fire department next to the former Legion pool site. They envision a three-bay structure with room to accommodate the administration and the Office of the Fire Marshal which is currently located at Fire Station # 1.
“We live and work out of these stations and maintain them 24/7, and we have to have a lot of different facilities, just like you would in your home,” said deputy chief operations officer Darrell Hayes. “If we don’t have the facilities and the equipment to work, then it is difficult for us to provide services.
• Other projects supported: $ 1.5 million for the water service, $ 6.9 million for the sewer service, $ 900,000 for a new roof at the MeadowView Conference Resort & Convention Center and $ 375,000 to improve the facilities. exhibits at Bays Mountain Park.
Kingsport is expected to enter the bond market on November 8 and will receive the funds approximately 10 days after. By the end of fiscal 2022 (June 30, 2022), Kingsport will have a total debt of $ 229.4 million.
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