Kingsport's Public Works Department held its fifth annual rodeo on Tuesday afternoon in connection to National Public Works Week, which ran this year from May 15 to the 21st. The America Public Works Association since 1960 has sponsored and promoted such events across the country to show the public the importance of public works on their daily lives.
“What we're trying to showcase is the breadth and width of services that are offered to the citizens, from snow removal to the street sweepers to the directional drills, to the guys who trim trees and put the asphalt down,” said Ryan McReynolds, assistant city manager for operations. “We're doing this so the public has a good idea of the value that they're getting for their desire to live within the city of Kingsport.”
The event was held at the Kingsport Farmers Market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and allowed kids and adults to get a first-hand 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, back hoe and mini paver.
Folks could take a short trip up in a bucket truck, try and pick up a tire with a grabber truck, hook a metal pin with a back hoe or attempt to drop a tennis ball into a bucket with a Gradall machine. Kids also painted snow plows and man hole covers, play some games and, along with everyone else, enjoy a hot dog lunch with dessert.
In all about 50 pieces of equipment was on hand Tuesday, with all divisions within public works represented. Other public works employees were also 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.
“The kids look forward to it every year, to get on the equipment they see and in their minds operate that equipment,” McReynolds said.
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.