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Kingsport - Johnson City - Bristol The Tri-Cities area
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Old 03-18-2014, 10:11 PM
 
34 posts, read 130,580 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wombattver View Post
Queenladybug - Nice to hear some positive examples of the region being a good place to live. I've moved quite a bit and lived in different countries and cities/towns and I think my usual approach is similar to yours - that each place is what you make of it, that every move is an adventure with new things to explore and new opportunities to get involved. I've lived in places I loved and some that were just fine. Never have I visited a place and put on the brakes so fast as I did with JC/Kingsport. I was surprised at my own reaction and frankly just disappointed and disillusioned. I keep hoping to find some hidden "pros" to outweigh the "cons."

A BIG part of this has much to do with my kids. (From your post, I'm guessing that you do not have children?) The schools are an issue. And weekend getaways are few and far between when you have sports games, practices, homework, birthday parties, etc. Also, I have a competitive figure skater and 2 avid hockey players. Right there, that would be GONE for them. That will be a real emotional loss. When you're at the rink 3-6 times a week, you're leaving behind a huge part of your life. Both also play soccer, so that will help a bit. I thought maybe we'd get more land in TN, but even that doesn't look likely. It's hard to answer the kids' questions: Will we still have a pool? Is there a skating club? A hockey team? a cool zoo? a dinosaur museum? Nope, nope, nope… but there IS…??? I'm still trying to come up with great things that the area DOES have to counter all they will be losing. It's not proving to be an easy sell.
Wombat --- My wife and I are considering moving to the area with our 3 year old boy. You mention the schools being an issue. Could you give me some insight on that? We've done a little research, and Tri-Cities Christian school caught our eye, but we're not too up to speed with the public schools. It just seems Science Hill is pretty crowded... as a high school alternative for later.
Thanks so much for any help you (or anyone else) could provide.
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Old 03-19-2014, 06:34 AM
 
Location: Tri-Cities, TN
185 posts, read 236,523 times
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BrokenRoad, something I've noticed about the opinion of the schools, is that it is REALLY dependent on where you are coming from as to your views. My kids have gone to a very poor school district for most of their lives in Kentucky and the change to their school in NY a few years back was significant. The locals in NY griped about the district there all the time, but the improvement for our family was immense. Those coming from districts that were nicer there lamented the same schools.

Seems to be a similar situation here, but with the locals torn a little more at how good the schools are. Great Schools has the district and almost all the schools ranked pretty high here in JC, but many locals disagree. From what I've seen so far, it's comparable to the district we came from in NY.

With your son being so young, you might want to check out the University School at ETSU. It's a lottery kind of deal to get into, but I hear lots of good things about it. I offered it as an option for my older daughter to at least try to get in, but she wasn't interested, since they didn't have a very big music or drama program, like Science Hill has. She may change her mind before she gets here, but we'll see.
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Old 03-20-2014, 11:34 AM
 
125 posts, read 139,023 times
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Brokenroad - The schools are not at all bad – both JC and KPT schools are rated very high with good test scores, and good reputations. It's a bit confusing because there are some big discrepencies between city schools and county schools and many neighborhoods have been annexed into the city schools. You can look at one house in JC schools and then look at another nearby and it's in the county school district, so it can be confusing. The nearest school is not always the school your kids would attend. There can also be big discepencies between elementary schools in the same district.

As queenlady bug said, it really depends on where you're coming from and what you expect. We are used to a gifted program with a dedicated teacher which we will greatly miss. JC elementary and middle schools do not really have a gifted program. However, they do offer many AP courses in high school, as does the KPT high school. I'm also not crazy about how the grades are broken up in the JC district, but that's just my personal issue.

I also hear very good things about the University school, but I think their lottery was in February for next year. I don't know much about the private religious schools, as they don't apply to us. There are a number of threads here that discuss the schools that you might find useful. It really looks like there are enough choices in schools that you can find what works for you and your family.

So as not to hijack this thread, feel free to DM me and we can talk further if you'd like. However, I have not yet made the move there, so my knowledge is limited to what I'm learning as we meet with the different schools. The posters here will probably be much more helpful – maybe start a new thread with your specific questions.
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Old 03-23-2014, 09:06 AM
 
Location: Inactive Account
1,508 posts, read 2,609,975 times
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I've been out of the East TN forum for a while but this thread has been a good read.

I'd have to agree with Emigrations that "the smell" took Kingsport off my list immediately. There are other threads on here claiming that it's not as bad as it used to be - but for anyone relocating to the area, it's hard to justify buying property and gambling on the odor wafting your direction, when the other towns are a short drive away.

I've visited East TN several times, but odds are, I'm going to relocate to a spot in western NC. It's just more practical for business and family contacts, to be on this side of the mountains and able to travel any time of year. Plus, NC has lowered its income tax rate twice since I first began seriously considering moving to East TN.

Not everyone cares about big city amenities. I've never watched any local sports team, am fine with the clothes I can find in TJ Maxx and the outlet shops, etc. The things I like to do here, like go walking in my neighborhood or the parks, can be done anywhere.

East TN probably could work for me, but so can a lot of other places. I guess that is where the "amenity" argument comes in. When cities are in competition with each other, you stand a better chance of keeping people longer, when they feel tied to those things.
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Old 03-23-2014, 10:34 AM
 
Location: The Conterminous United States
22,573 posts, read 49,168,244 times
Reputation: 13471
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean_CLT View Post

East TN probably could work for me, but so can a lot of other places. I guess that is where the "amenity" argument comes in. When cities are in competition with each other, you stand a better chance of keeping people longer, when they feel tied to those things.
I'm not a fan of the Tri, by any means, and you're already in NC so you know what it's like. But I know many transplants in NC that absolutely deplore their tax burden, especially the insidious taxes. Once again, you're already there and happy so it's a non-issue for you, I'm sure. But for the sake of other readers, especially the Tax Freedom box that shows Tennessee's overall tax burden, which is superb. So many transplants want the benefit of the mountains and the beaches but get disillusioned with the taxes.

North Carolina | Tax Foundation
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Old 03-23-2014, 07:29 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
28,353 posts, read 21,254,383 times
Reputation: 34760
Quote:
Originally Posted by hiknapster View Post
I'm not a fan of the Tri, by any means, and you're already in NC so you know what it's like. But I know many transplants in NC that absolutely deplore their tax burden, especially the insidious taxes. Once again, you're already there and happy so it's a non-issue for you, I'm sure. But for the sake of other readers, especially the Tax Freedom box that shows Tennessee's overall tax burden, which is superb. So many transplants want the benefit of the mountains and the beaches but get disillusioned with the taxes.

North Carolina | Tax Foundation
The tax benefits are a statewide amenity. It's nothing the local economy does or does not do. This guy could get the same tax benefits in Knoxville or Williamson County as he does in Kingsport, minus whatever property tax differences there are or county benefits.

The stuff most people talk about as being a benefit are really not local issues. There is little to no reason to move just to the Tri-cities vs other parts of TN.

Last edited by Serious Conversation; 03-23-2014 at 08:48 PM..
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Old 03-23-2014, 09:24 PM
 
Location: Tri-Cities, TN
185 posts, read 236,523 times
Reputation: 177
Ok, honest question here. What do we see in metro areas the size of the Tri-Cities around the country, that would be amenities that would be a draw?

Let's compare apples to apples as much as we can here, at least with regard to population. Economy does factor in eventually, but how different are we from other places and what they offer?
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Old 03-23-2014, 10:36 PM
 
Location: A Yankee in northeast TN
12,363 posts, read 15,938,352 times
Reputation: 29800
Quote:
Originally Posted by queenladybug817 View Post
Ok, honest question here. What do we see in metro areas the size of the Tri-Cities around the country, that would be amenities that would be a draw?

Let's compare apples to apples as much as we can here, at least with regard to population. Economy does factor in eventually, but how different are we from other places and what they offer?
I'd love to see this discussion go further.

I also want to bring up a couple of other things.
One is the proximity of the tri-cities to Knoxville, Asheville and Chattanooga, so within a 2-3 hour radius there is an abundance of activities and amenities. It would be great to have some of those 'big city' things right here in the tri-cities, but realistically how many zoos, concert venues, etc can this corner of the state support?
The second point is regarding the remark Emigrations made somewhere or other about how Asheville is 'hip', the 'it' city in this area, with the types of amenities that attract young professionals. I am assuming these are the types of amenities he'd like to see here too. The only problem with that idea is that in spite of those amenities Asheville also has a bad reputation for being a not so great place for young people looking to jump start a career, with low wage tourist industry jobs combined with a high COL. Not so very different from the complaints about jobs here, so really, how much would these new amenities be beneficial to attracting new talent? A lot, or just a little?

Last edited by DubbleT; 03-23-2014 at 11:11 PM..
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Old 03-24-2014, 02:33 AM
 
Location: The canyon (with my pistols and knife)
13,455 posts, read 19,126,931 times
Reputation: 15277
The thing about amenities is that you have to pay for them, even with taxes in a lot of cases. This is why I've come to the conclusion that moderate taxes are the best solution. If taxes are high, they slow down the economy, but if taxes are low, you get what you pay for. It's every government's responsibility to get as much out of the tax dollars it collects as it can, but it's also the responsibility of people to understand that taxes are basically the overhead cost of living in an advanced civilization. Quality of life can be damaged by low taxes just as easily as it can by high taxes. Moderate taxes improve the quality of life without hurting the economy.
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Old 03-24-2014, 07:53 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
28,353 posts, read 21,254,383 times
Reputation: 34760
I'd like to see some concerts, even if they're relatively small or indie acts. There are barely any concerts here. Asheville does a really good job having a diverse music scene for a small town.

I'd like to see a wider variety of shopping, particularly grocery stores. A Super Target would be a good start. How about a Whole Foods, Costco, or Trader Joe's? The Earthfare in JC is small compared to their other stores. You have some lower budget grocers (Priceless), but I'd say the vast majority of food is sold by Food City and Walmart. The Krogers are substandard and Ingles are few and far between.

There is very little "civil society" here outside of the church. Younger people from outside the Bible Belt are probably not going to be as religious as the average person here. Someone who is younger and not religious is going to find it tougher to make connections here than in many other areas. A stronger presence of secular civic organizations would be a great a thing to have.

Our restaurant scene isn't terrible, but we're covered up in chain restaurants. JC has some good local options, but Kingsport and Bristol are behind the curve. Also, if you wanted a high--end restaurant for a special occasion, where would you go in the Tri-Cities? Again, Asheville has a terrific restaurant scene for a town its size and isn't much larger than the Tri-Cities.

The downtowns are improving, but there is still a lot of work to be done and progress seems very slow.

The point that the Tri-Cities is "just a few hours away" from Knoxville, Asheville, etc, could be seen as a positive that it's in close proximity to many things, or as a negative in that doing anything you can't do in the Tri-Cities is going to be a several hour roundtrip. The Tri-Cities are at least three hours away from the nearest major metro (Charlotte) and a half day's drive from other areas (Raleigh, Atlanta, Nashville). This makes going to a concert, pro sporting event, etc, a real hassle from the Tri. This can't be changed but I view it as an inconvenience. Flying out of the Tri-Cities is also expensive and there's no Amtrak or anything like that to go elsewhere. That's not a local issue directly - it applies to any small town.

I'm not sure how much these amenities would help in retaining talent. The distance to a major metro from the Tri-Cities isn't going to change and is a dealbreaker for me personally, but I think the area would be a lot better off if it could find some niche like Asheville, even if the economy is relatively weak. Asheville's economy is relatively weak, but it has its own charms that draw people in. I find the Tri-Cities relatively bland and lacking personality - there's little special or memorable about it, whereas Asheville really focuses on being "special."
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