Kingsport planners unveil final draft of downtown master plan

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Kingsport city planners unveiled the final draft of a plan to transform their city’s downtown.

The multi-million dollar “downtown master plan” project is a vision for what downtown Kingsport could look like decades into the future.

Monday night, city staff presented their ideas to help drive change, breaking downtown Kingsport into 4 separate districts.

“We’ve got 2 districts primarily focused on housing,” said development services director Lynn Tully.

A big priority there, with the Mill district and Warehouse district proposed on opposite ends of downtown.

Then, there’s the Academic Village portion, which Tully said could include a student quad, as well as the Arts and Entertainment district.

“We’re looking at a brewery potentially in the post office space,” Tully said. “We’ve also looked at the building at the corner of Broad and Center street on the north side, we have a vacant building there now that could be a great place for a mix of entertainment uses. Things like a bowling alley, arcade games and other family oriented activities as well.”

And with a large downtown – more than 200 acres – this final draft was no small task, but an important one, if you ask Tully.

“The market is changing so it’s really time for a new vision for downtown. Setting that plan in place so that we can work to follow through with it. It may take many years and that’s ok, but again if we don’t have a framework set in place, we don’t know exactly where and how to direct these investors when they come to our door,” she said.

So what does it take to accomplish that? Tully said a combination of private sector involvement, city funds, as well as grants. No word on an exact cost.

City staff also made it clear, this is something they do not expect to happen overnight. In fact these are projects that would take place over the course of some 20 years.

Click here to view a gallery of some pictures from the master plan presentation.

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