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Chamber dinner celebrates Kingsport's accomplishments

Sharon Hayes • Feb 6, 2009 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — More than 1,500 people gathered Friday night to celebrate the city’s accomplishments at the 62nd annual dinner of the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce.

Held at the MeadowView Marriott, the event drew folks from throughout the region to enjoy an evening of food, fellowship and entertainment by Beatles cover band The Fab Four.

Tom Segelhorst, the 2008 Kingsport chamber chair and human resources and safety manager at Domtar, said the annual event is the “perfect way to celebrate all of the many great things and achievements that are occurring in Kingsport.”

Segelhorst turned his duties over to Julie Bennett, incoming Kingsport chamber chair who serves as general counsel for Bristol Motor Speedway.

Kingsport’s accomplishments of the past year were highlighted during the event, including:

• Kingsport posted a record $180.9 million in new residential and commercial construction last year.

• Eastman Chemical Co. continued with its $1.3 billion Project Reinvest.

• Holston Valley Medical Center continued progress with its $100 million Project Platinum.

• Holston Medical Group opened its new $40 million medical office complex.

• Sheridan Square continues to build medical and office complexes, investing another $35 million in construction last year.

• Kingsport posted double-digit increases in sales tax collections in 2008.

• Work continued on Kingsport’s Academic Village, a $21 million investment in the downtown district.

• The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Business Civic Leadership Center and Siemens Corp. named Kingsport as a National Sustainable Community Award winner last year, making Kingsport one of only three cities nationwide to receive the award.

• Domtar announced a multimillion-dollar expansion at its Ridgefields Converting and Distribution Center last year.

• The new Kingsport Boys & Girls Club opened.

• Kingsport was named one of the best green cities in the Southeast by CountryHome magazine.

• Kingsport was named the top city in the nation for walkers by WALK! magazine.

• Dobyns-Bennett High School was once again named a top public school by Newsweek magazine, and City-Data.com ranked D-B as the No. 1 school in Tennessee based on test scores.

• Construction continued on John Adams Elementary School.

• Kingsport announced plans for a $12 million aquatic center.

•MeadowView, in partnership with Eastman and the city, announced a $30 million expansion and renovation.

• The Move To Kingsport program announced that 1,475 families from 42 states moved to Kingsport in 2008.

• Construction continued on several new residential housing developments.

• The Kingsport Convention and Visitors Bureau hosted a record number of 14 sports tournaments and events last year, bringing more than 20,000 people to the city and more than $5.7 million to the local economy.

The chamber presented its Lifetime Member Award to two community leaders this year. Rod Irvin, former government relations director of Eastman, was recognized for his service to the community. And Frank Brewer, manager of business development for Little and Adams, was honored for his service.

Eastman served as title sponsor of the annual dinner, and WJHL News Channel 11 was host sponsor. HVMC was the entertainment sponsor, Eastman Credit Union served as concert hall and stage sponsor, BMS was the associate sponsor, and Oak Hill Memorial Park, Funerals and Cremations served as reception sponsor.

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