Construction of new KATS building set to begin this summer

KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL) – The City of Kingsport is moving forward with plans to construct a new building for the Kingsport Area Transit System.

KATS said this is a project years in the making and leaders are excited to see the project come together.

Assistant City Manager, Chris McCartt, said this is the first time in KATS history that it will have its own facility.

“They’ve been in four different locations in downtown Kingsport over the last 25 years. And so to have a facility now that is actually designed for transit, it’s going to be a lot easier for us to move buses in and out for our passengers,” McCartt said.

He said the project is moving forward rapidly. Right now the design is 60-percent complete.

It will be located at the corner of East Main and Sullivan streets.

Leaders say the new location will improve safety for passengers boarding buses, it will be easier to understand routes, and the it gives KATS the opportunity to expand.

“We talked about expanding our days of service to include Saturdays and also extending fixed routes service into Colonial Heights and Rock Springs,” McCartt said.

KATS Transit Coordinator, Chris Campbell, said the new facility will help with the growing popularity of public transportation.

“We provided about 180,000 trips last year,” Campbell said.

He said the community is excited about the move.

“It’s something that’s needed in our community. But it’s also a great opportunity again for that gateway piece to downtown an area that can be cleaned up and hopefully other development can be spurred from that,” he said.

Once KATS moves out of its current location, the city is looking to use that building to accommodate the anticipated growth with ETSU and other programs at Academic Village, as well as improve parking in that area.

Once construction begins, the $5 million project is expected to be complete within 18 to 24 months.

Kingsport leaders tell News Channel 11 they expect to approve the bid and break ground on the new KATS building in July or August.

Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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