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Event to give Kingsport residents firsthand look at public works department equipment

May 22nd, 2014 12:18 am by Matthew Lane

Event to give Kingsport residents firsthand look at public works department equipment

Children will be able to paint manhole covers this afternoon at an event at the Kingsport Farmers Market hosted by the city's public works department. Contributed photo.

KINGSPORT — Ever wanted to operate an automated garbage truck? Learn more about how sewage is treated? What about the equipment used to pave city streets?

Then come to the Kingsport Farmers Market this afternoon to learn more about the equipment and procedures used every day by the city's public works department.

This week is National Public Works Week, and Kingsport's public works employees will be at the farmers market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to demonstrate how they plan, manage and maintain the city's essential infrastructure, including water, sewer and transportation networks.

"We are blessed by an extraordinary group of employees who are dedicated to serving the taxpayers of Kingsport," Public Works Director Ryan McReynolds said. "We very much appreciate the community taking a few minutes out of their day to visit with us at the farmers market, where we can personally explain the many services offered by the city of Kingsport."

The event will allow kids and adults to get a firsthand look at some of the heavy equipment used by public works employees every day, including automated garbage collection trucks, the trash grabber truck, the mini street sweeper, leaf collection equipment, sewer camera vans, a directional drill machine, backhoe and mini paver.

McReynolds said people will be allowed to operate some of the automated equipment and kids will be able to paint snow plows, manhole covers and play cornhole and ring toss games. Food (hot dogs and chips) will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

The event will include a safety show where employees will introduce the different types of safety equipment they use on the job, from the simple safety vest and steel-toed boots to higher end protective gear.

Other public works employees will be on hand to talk about solid waste collection and disposal, the maintenance of public buildings and grounds and just what an average day in public works is like.

"This is our third year. It's really good and a well-kept secret," McReynolds said, noting 500 to 600 people are expected to attend during the four-hour event. "Anyone can come. If you're just interested in any of the activities we do or want to know why we do the things we do. Both the visible and behind-the-scenes jobs."

Kingsport's Public Works Department is the largest non-school related department in the city with approximately 270 employees. The department includes water and sewer, streets and sanitation, building maintenance, traffic, engineering, stormwater and the Municipal Transportation and Planning Organization.

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