Kingsport plans to enter into a 10-year lease agreement with the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kingsport, which would allow the city to use space in the club’s new facility such as the gymnasiums for AAU basketball tournaments.
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted on first reading Tuesday night to enter into an agreement with the club. Under the terms of the agreement, Kingsport would pay the club $100,000 a year over the next four years and would allow Kingsport Leisure Services, Kingsport City Schools, the Kingsport Convention and Visitors Bureau, and other city and affiliate organizations to utilize space in the new Boys and Girls Club facility.
The agreement states such use would take place when the club is not using the facilities for their primary programs and at other predetermined and mutually agreed upon times. The club primarily operates its programs from 2:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the weekdays during the school year. Weekend usage by the club is limited to only a few special Saturday events annually.
The agreement also grants the city 15 days of use during the summer — the two gymnasiums for AAU basketball tournaments.
Chuck Owens, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club, said the agreement is good for the club and the citizens of Kingsport.
“At this point in time we’re looking forward to partnering with the city,” Owens said, adding club officials plan to meet with various city department heads to work out the final specifics of the agreement.
The Boys and Girls Club’s new facility is located on a 9-acre site off Stone Drive, behind Rush Street, Pratt’s, Texas Road House and Pizza Hut. The new two-story facility will have 44,000 square feet (as opposed to 30,000 square feet in the current location) and include technology areas, a fitness center, an improved woodworking program, two full-sized basketball gyms, a playground, golf training area, T-ball field, Little League field and a football/soccer field.
The Boys and Girls Club received $5.2 million from Wellmont Health System for the purchase of the club’s current facility and land. Fund-raising efforts began in January to raise an additional $2.5 million, and according to Owens, the club needs to raise just over $1 million to reach its goal.
Earlier this year club officials contemplated coming before the BMA and asking for some amount of money to help with the project. However, the request was never formally made. Instead club officials began talking with various city officials about how the two could partner together.
“There’s no way the city is in a position to donate to our capital campaign,” Owens said. “So we decided to work on ways to generate revenue for operating costs and meet a need for the city.”
Owens said he believes the lease funds from the city would be considered operating revenue for the club. However, he said the club’s board of directors could apply the money to the construction of the new facility.
The Boys and Girls Club is an agency that receives funds from the United Way. When the United Way has its annual fund-raising campaign, which is currently under way, the agencies the organization helps are not allowed to conduct fund-raisers at the same time.
This so-called fund-raising “blackout” period is in effect until Nov. 15.
In other business Tuesday night the BMA:
•Voted on final reading to annex Area 1 in the Rock Springs community — 55 acres of land located roughly across from Fiddlers Way off Rock Springs Road. This annexation is the first of seven in the Rock Springs community expected to come before the BMA over the next several months.
•Awarded the bid for the construction of the John Adams Elementary School to J.A. Street Associates, which submitted a $14.64 million bid for the project. The new elementary school, slated to open in fall 2009, will have the capacity to house 500 pre-K-5 students when it opens and feature a full-sized gymnasium suitable for hosting athletic events.
•Approved an amendment to allow electronic message boards in B-2 and B-3 zoning districts. The amendment allows only one freestanding message board for each development. The sign shall include an automatic dimmer, not interfere with traffic signal devices, and not be used for off-premises advertising. Text will not scroll or flash, and any display shall be for a minimum of five seconds in duration.
•Accepted a $47,645 donation from the K-PLAY Sports Council, which will be used as the matching portion of a $250,000 state grant. The money will be used to fund the installation of lights at two ball fields at Domtar Park, one soccer field at Eastman Park, and parking lot lights at both parks.