Kingsport's public works department rolled out more than two dozen pieces of heavy equipment for its 6th annual Public Works Day on Tuesday.
The event was held in connection to National Public Works Week, which runs this year May 21-27. The America Public Works Association since 1960 has sponsored and promoted such events across the country to show the public the importance of public works on their daily lives.
Kingsport held its four-hour event at the farmers market and offered kids the chance of seeing a dump truck, a back hoe, a paving machine and other pieces of heavy equipment up close and personal.
“We have food, activities, and all kinds of equipment for the young and young at heart to participate with and maybe even learn a little bit about what goes into keeping the infrastructure of the city up and going every day,” said Michael Thompson, assistant public works director.
Kids and adults got a first-hand look at an automated garbage collection truck, the trash grabber truck, leaf collection equipment, sewer camera vans, a directional drill machine, back hoe and mini paver.
Folks could take a short trip up in a bucket truck, try and pick up a tire with a grabber truck, hook a metal pin with a back hoe or attempt to drop a tennis ball into a bucket with a Gradall machine. Kids could also show their artistic ability by painting snow plows and manhole covers, playing games and, along with everyone else, enjoy a hot dog lunch with dessert.
In all, more than two dozen pieces of heavy equipment were on display from nearly every division within public works. Other public works employees were also on hand to talk about the city's water and wastewater system, the maintenance of public buildings and grounds and just what an average day in public works is like.
“We are blessed to have an extraordinary group of employees who are dedicated to serving the tax payers of Kingsport,” Public Works Director Ryan McReynolds said. “We very much appreciate the community taking a few minutes out of their day to visit with us at the farmers market, where we can personally explain the many services offered by Kingsport.”
Kids could watch and learn how to use the sewer camera, while those interested in the science behind the wastewater treatment plant could look through microscopes to see the microscopic organisms used in the biological process of treating water. A large sandbox was also set up to allow the public to view a replica of Kingsport sewer and waterlines.
Kingsport's Public Works Department is the largest, non-school related, department in the city with approximately 270 employees. The department includes water and sewer, streets and sanitation, building maintenance, traffic, engineering, stormwater and the Municipal Transportation and Planning Organization.