City evaluates parking needs at packed Aquatic Center

Matthew Lane • May 31, 2013 at 6:06 AM

KINGSPORT - Parking was already at a premium at the Kingsport Aquatic Center and the YMCA Wellmont Center, but now that the outdoor water features have come online, finding a place to park is becoming an even greater challenge for patrons of either facility.

The aquatic center and new YMCA took a phased approach to opening over the past three weeks - the YMCA first with a soft opening on May 10, a grand opening on May 15 followed two days later with a grand opening of the indoor pools at the aquatic center. Memorial Day weekend saw the launch of the outdoor elements and concession stand.

During the opening week of the YMCA, the parking lot was fairly full, given it’s a new facility and hundreds of new members have joined the Y in recent months. A week later when the indoor pools open, the parking lot was even tighter. By the time Memorial Day weekend rolled around and the outdoor water features opened, the parking lot was full.

As was the grass around the parking lot, the road behind the building and the old contractor’s site near Meadowview Parkway. Not only that, Kingsport established an overflow parking lot at the Meadowview Conference Resort and Convention Center and ran a shuttle bus to and from there, all three days of the holiday weekend.

Chris McCartt, assistant to the city manager, said the city is presently evaluating the parking situation at the aquatic center and could make a recommendation to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen next week about adding an additional 70 spaces at the facility.

Read more on this story in Friday's print edition of the Times-News.

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