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Kingsport's economic development board creates the environment for new jobs

March 15th, 2014 7:26 pm by Hank Hayes

Kingsport's economic development board creates the environment for new jobs

One outcome of the Kingsport Economic Development Board has been small industrial park development like the Kingsport Regional Service Park off Wilcox Drive.

KINGSPORT — Business leaders and city officials hold a monthly pow-wow around a conference room table at the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce to do what's called "economic gardening."

They are members of the Kingsport Economic Development Board (KEDB), initially chartered in 1986 as the Kingsport Industrial Development Board with a mission to create and retain quality jobs, in addition to increasing the tax base.

The mission remains the same, and KEDB has taken a number of assorted strategic steps along the way.

Jeff Fleming, Kingsport's assistant city manager for development, recently gave KEDB members a historical overview of where they have been and what their role is in economic development.

"People always say 'Why don't you create jobs?' Economic developers don't create jobs. They create an environment in which jobs can flourish," Fleming told KEDB members.

The Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen, said Fleming, appropriated $3.6 million to KEDB in its formative years during the 1980s to buy property to be developed.

For an expanded version of this article, please see Sunday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.

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