KINGSPORT — Two groups at odds over how to promote downtown Kingsport are in talks on possible ways to come together as one.
Mayor Dennis Phillips has asked a local attorney to serve as mediator between the Downtown Kingsport Association and the new Downtown Business Alliance of Kingsport.
“We’ve got two parties — both represent downtown, and actually both do a pretty good job. But there’s just so much money to go around. We’d like to see if we could have one voice,” Phillips said.
Earlier this year, the DBA requested $20,000 from the city to help it promote the central business district.
In years past, the city has provided funding for downtown promotions to the DKA. And last year the city provided $40,000 to the longstanding organization.
But with the new DBA request, the BMA agreed to increase its funding for promotion of downtown from $40,000 last year to $48,000 this year — and split the money between the DKA and DBA.
Phillips said he asked Kingsport attorney William “Bill” Wray to serve as mediator between the two groups.
Both sides met for several hours late last week and plan to meet again in the future.
“I hope they can work something out — everybody just has to give a little and take a little,” Phillips said.
“It would be ideal to have one voice representing downtown.”