Got a minute? Share your thoughts on downtown Kingsport

J. H. Osborne • Feb 28, 2020 at 6:00 PM

Why do you go downtown? Taking a survey earlier this week, I wondered what to make of my own answers: 1) Pal’s; 2) church (First Broad); and 3) Berry’s Pharmacy.

The survey, which aims to help the Downtown Kingsport Association improve downtown’s offerings by finding out what folks like, don’t like, and would like to see added, asks you to name the top three things that bring you downtown. That was my list above.

But I really wanted more than three choices. I also frequent the New York Bagel Exchange, Main Street Pizza, the Farmers Market, and Food City. And China Wok. I still prowl the antiques stores. Mom banks at Hometrust. Earlier this week, I met my good friend Randy Sermons for lunch at Stir Fry on Broad Street. I hadn’t been in a while, but I was so happy Randy suggested it because I’d forgotten how much I love their Breakfast Burger (a half-pound patty, cheddar cheese, sunny-side up fried egg, applewood bacon and roasted pork belly). As I’d skipped breakfast, it was perfect. Randy’s noodle dish looked great, and he said it was. But as he stared at my burger like a hungry Cocker Spaniel, he vowed he’d return soon and order exactly what I had.

The survey also asks you to describe downtown with two one-word answers. I wrote “History” and “Preservation.” Those are things that matter to and interest me. Next it asks you to identify two one-word answers for challenges facing downtown. I wrote “Perception” and “Empty.” I go downtown a lot. I drive smack through it to and from work each day. I don’t think it’s empty, but there are some high-profile buildings that need help. And I know people whose perception is that downtown is a bit empty, especially at night. I think they just aren’t paying attention, especially on weekends.

So what would you like to see downtown? Between now and March 20, you have a chance to share your thoughts on downtown’s current condition and dreams about its future. That date is the deadline for participation in the online survey.

Survey results, collected and kept confidential by the National Main Street Center, will be passed along to the DKA. The survey, results and customized marketing pieces are being provided to all 37 Tennessee Main Street communities by the Tennessee Main Street Program.

It asks where you live and if you would like to live downtown (I live a few blocks out of the downtown district, so I don’t feel a need to move closer), what time of day you typically visit downtown and on which day of the week you are most likely to do so.

The survey’s final question? “Describe the future of downtown in one sentence.”

My response: “The go-to spot for socializing, dining and entertainment in the region.”

Yes, that’s a big goal. But I think it can be achieved.

Here’s the url to the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Y3DLRKV. Copy and paste into your web browser.

J.H. Osborne covers Sullivan County government for the Times News. Email him at josborne@timesnews.net.

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