KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – Leaders with the City of Kingsport say the future is bright economically, pointing to new businesses and housing developments.

A release from the city states that steps have been taken over the last three years to lay the groundwork for economic growth. Some of those measures included creating a full-time economic development office, building a property database and working with developers and property owners.

“All of this effort and preparation is starting to pay dividends – home construction is at an all-time high, relationships are stronger with developers and a number of high profile projects are progressing well,” the release states.

Kingsport’s Economic Development Director John Rose explains how vital economic growth is for the city.

“As we grow, that brings new jobs, new residents, new concepts, retail, commercial and growth allows for all of that to happen,” Rose said. “It also allows the city to maintain and increase services that can be provided to citizens.”

City officials have been working with property developers to fill empty spaces in the city. Hull Properties is one of those developers and has invested more than $5 million into the Fort Henry Mall and there are five new projects for that property.

Rose also said that economic growth for the city can increase other aspects.

“It increases visitors, it increases jobs, so therefore we have an increase in also residential,” said Rose. “But if they’re coming here, they’re moving here.”

Home construction is at an all-time high in the city. According to the press release, 34 Centennial Row townhomes are expected to increase the number of units in the development from 386 to 442.

“We are looking forward to seeing the trend in residential growth,” said Rose. “You know, it was announced that the strategic plan last week that we had more than 2,100 housing units continue to be in the development process.”

Local business owner Suzanne Barrett-Justis said she looks forward to economic growth in the city.

“It definitely would be a positive thing for my business and everybody else’s businesses downtown,” said Barrett-Justis. “There’s a lot of vacant buildings down here, a lot of vacant buildings that are falling and in complete disrepair”