Kingsport moving into next phase of Downtown Master Plan

KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL) – A plan to bring changes and improvements to Kingsport’s Downtown is moving forward.

The city of Kingsport is mapping out a Downtown master plan – serving as a vision for what should come downtown in the next decade.

The last time the city did an entire downtown master plan project was about ten years ago.

Project planners say they’re moving into the next phase of this master plan. That phase involves an economic survey to show them what downtown could look like and economically what new additions it could support.

As the founder of Bellafina Chocolates on Cherokee Street, Brenda Barnicki knows a thing or two about downtown Kingsport, including what she’d like to see as a new addition.

“I think entertainment venues, theaters,” Barnicki said. “The most important thing would be things that bring people from outside of our area into downtown.”

The city is taking suggestions like Barnicki’s and compiling them into one big Downtown master plan, which will cover all 44 blocks of Downtown Kingsport.

“We think that Kingsport has a great downtown, but there are some vacant properties and some things and we just want to look at the best way to fill those and strength our downtown moving forward,” said Nathan Woods, Development Planner for the City of Kingsport.

Woods says that could mean more retail, housing or even a hotel. They are all ideas the city will be able to flush out a bit more as they move into the next phase of the project – the economic survey.

“We all have ideas of what we want downtown, but this will really tell us economically what we can actually support,” Woods said.

Money from a national grant will help them do that. Tuesday night, the Kingsport Board of Mayor and Alderman will decide to take the first steps in allocating $15,000 of grant money to the project.

Bellafina’s Barnicki hopes the project will bring more people to her business, and new ones downtown, too.

“The more economic activity we can drive, the more interesting types of businesses will be able to locate here,” she said.

The city will hold a series of public meetings November 28, 29 and 30 at the Kingsport Center for Higher Education and RCAM building, encouraging the public to share their ideas for what they want to see downtown. On the last day, the project’s planners will roll out what they think some of the final plans may look like.

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