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Old 09-23-2019, 07:01 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
28,279 posts, read 21,198,685 times
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https://www.timesnews.net/Local/2019...e-in-Kingsport

I noticed these blocks on the Greenbelt benches while walking late last week. I wasn't sure what the purpose was, but apparently they're designed to prevent homeless from sleeping on the benches.

Some people have posted pictures of these blocks on Facebook and gotten hundreds of comments about how this is cruel, but I don't understand what people want.

I see a lot of people comment that resources need to go to a homeless shelter/day housing center, but people in this area are extremely averse to any tax increase for even essential services like road repair. If city leaders said "the average city homeowner's property taxes are going to go up $10/month to fund a homeless shelter," residents would be up in arms. Meanwhile, the homeless hanging out downtown (especially loitering around Glen Bruce Park) are a bad look and turn-off for most people.
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Old 09-23-2019, 09:05 AM
 
Location: Gray, TN
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I think the solution is public-private non-profit partnerships to get people off the street and into homes and jobs. Non-profits such as the one below should be funded by federal/state/local grants with oversight that is not onerous. Property taxes wouldn't need to go up $10 per month, maybe $10 per year at most.

Family Promise of Greater Kingsport

There also needs to be Work Opportunity Credit "banks", where folks get pre-qualified for the tax credit and employers can find them easily. I'd like to hire from this subset, but how do you find them?
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Old 09-23-2019, 12:33 PM
 
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Default Kingsport and the Homeless

If you frequent Kingsport parks you may have noticed that the benches now have a piece of 4 x 4 bolted to the center of the benches. On the midday news they announced that these blocks bolted to the benches are Kingsport's efforts to keep the homeless from sleeping on them.
I think it is sad that a town that prides itself on being a christian based city would do such a thing. I wonder what Jesus would say?
Perhaps Kingsport should consider renaming itself Trumpville as they are following Trump's lead to eliminate the homeless. It seems that Trump's plan to deal with the homeless is to place them in internment camps. Maybe Trump should start with blocks on benches.
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Old 09-23-2019, 12:52 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
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I don't know what people expect.

Like I mentioned, local residents will be up in arms at any mention of property tax increases to fund these kinds of services. It's a problem for downtown, and downtown Kingsport needs to generate momentum. Visible homeless and drug use is a step in the wrong direction.

Although people are commenting and outraged on social media, no one is willing to pay for services, nor does anyone really want to invite these people onto their own property.

I think one of the biggest issues are those flophouses on Sullivan Street across from Town Park Lofts. Those places look like drug dens.
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Old 09-30-2019, 01:13 PM
 
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Since I posted two weeks ago I have spoken to several people who frequent the Greenbelt in Kingsport. I asked many questions based on what the Kingsport representative cited on the local news. When I approached each of these people I pointed to the blocks on the benches and told them their so-called purpose. Their response in every case was that they had never seen anyone sleeping on those benches. I asked if that had ever been approached by a panhandler. No was the answer. I asked if they were ever a victim of a crime at the Greenbelt, or Kingsport, and all said no.

Where are all these homeless people who are degrading and committing crimes throughout Kingsport?

Since using the Kingsport resources meaning the Greenbelt I have never seen a person I could identify as homeless. I was never a victim of a crime in this area. However, I have had, on several occasions, panhandlers ask me for money at and near the Ft Henry Mall.

I think the residents of Kingsport should look more deeply into the reasoning behind this bench block project. There is a good chance that this project has a base in nepotism. Who did the work? City employees? Were they paid overtime?
Who supplied the material? Sullivan county in general has a shady past of illegal activities and this project is looking very suspicious.

Not only did some Kingsport leaders stop the homeless from stretching out on the benches but also stopped the taxpayers and residents from simply lying down on a bench and looking up at the clouds.
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Old 09-30-2019, 01:34 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donsabi View Post
Since I posted two weeks ago I have spoken to several people who frequent the Greenbelt in Kingsport. I asked many questions based on what the Kingsport representative cited on the local news. When I approached each of these people I pointed to the blocks on the benches and told them their so-called purpose. Their response in every case was that they had never seen anyone sleeping on those benches. I asked if that had ever been approached by a panhandler. No was the answer. I asked if they were ever a victim of a crime at the Greenbelt, or Kingsport, and all said no.

Where are all these homeless people who are degrading and committing crimes throughout Kingsport?

Since using the Kingsport resources meaning the Greenbelt I have never seen a person I could identify as homeless. I was never a victim of a crime in this area. However, I have had, on several occasions, panhandlers ask me for money at and near the Ft Henry Mall.

I think the residents of Kingsport should look more deeply into the reasoning behind this bench block project. There is a good chance that this project has a base in nepotism. Who did the work? City employees? Were they paid overtime?
Who supplied the material? Sullivan county in general has a shady past of illegal activities and this project is looking very suspicious.

Not only did some Kingsport leaders stop the homeless from stretching out on the benches but also stopped the taxpayers and residents from simply lying down on a bench and looking up at the clouds.
The occasional issue I've seen on the Greenbelt has absolutely nothing to do with people lying on benches. I've seen a few people occasionally smoking pot and saw a fight once.

I can see putting them on the areas downtown that frequently get homeless, but no idea why it's going on elsewhere.
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Old 09-30-2019, 03:10 PM
 
Location: Gray, TN
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I've been approached by panhandlers in downtown Kingsport. Please add me to your sample.

On these issues, I get torn between compassion and practicality. On one hand, it may seem mean to prevent the homeless from sleeping on benches. But in reality, it is best for all parties for them not to be there anyway. Does it help us sleep better at night if we know there are homeless but at least they can sleep on those cold, hard benches. That does nothing for me.

On the other hand, there are entry-level jobs available everywhere; there should be zero unemployment for someone with their act halfway together. There should be a pathway set up to get the homeless from street to temporary shelter to job to affordable housing. But if they won't help themselves, we need to stop feeling sorry.
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Old 10-01-2019, 01:02 PM
 
Location: Sullivan County, Tennessee
486 posts, read 1,145,304 times
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It is about time to quit being so "politically correct an address the problem of vagrants in downtown Kingsport and quit grouping these shady individuals in with the larger category of the unfortunate homeless. The vagrant population downtown is more commonly observed on Broad Street in the two blocks of Broad between Center and the Church Circle and on Sullivan Street from Center to Lovedale. As city authorities have noted the behavioral problems seem to center around the Library and Glen Bruce Park. The observation of panhandlers and vagrancy discourage many ordinary citizens from entering this zone for any reason. It is interesting to note that city hall will shortly be moving into this area across the street from Glen Bruce Park.

This social problem was indirectly responsible for the ACMA Mountain Music Museum closing it's doors in East Tennessee for good along with it's weekly Pickin' Porch Show. Kingsport interests persuaded The ACMA to move this operation from Bristol to Kingsport back in November 2017. There were several commercial sponsorships along with a very generous underwriting for museum operation by Visit Kingsport. It's important to note that in order for the operation to survive both the museum and the music would require income from daily operations and the weekly show. The museum needed to maintain rigid daily hours of operation to accommodate drop-in visitors and the weekly Thursday evening show needed to appear consistently.

The museum had one paid employee with the title of Executive Director (a popular title for workhorses these days) and volunteers. It is important that the museum volunteers be knowledgeable of the origins, development, and artists in the local country music development in Kingsport, Bristol, and the entire region. Such were the volunteers already supporting the museum in Bristol who now had to commute to Kingsport to man the museum. Perhaps I should say "woman the museum" because by and large these museum docents were women. My own involvement only occurred after they made the Kingsport move and I was involved only with some technical matters. I'm not knowledgeable enough of local musicology to give museum tours. But, I can observe problems in the making while on the premises. I don't think there was significant membership gain from the Kingsport community to the ACMA volunteer body.

The weekly shows started out with good attendance but the attendance gradually tapered off until hardly anyone was present but the member volunteers. Foot traffic to the museum was virtually non-existent at times I was there. It seems that out-of-town visitors were more abundant than local ones. Local visitors seemed to be the street people wandering in to use the facilities and while there unnerving the lady volunteer(s) on duty. By late 2018 the executive-director complained of having difficulty finding anyone who would baby-sit the museum because of the vagrants. When he couldn't be there the museum was closed. He thought they might try to hire part-time college docents if they could come up with funding for the wages. That didn't materialize. He said the head of Visit Kingsport had "laid down the law" that the museum had to be open for 11-6 daily for 6 days a week or funding would be stopped. Funding was stopped in April 2019. The last Pickin' Porch show was on 13 June 2019 and bluegrass music was provide by Tennessee Border Bluegrass to a packed house (those young folks have lots of friends). The museum closed and the collections were dispersed during July 2019. Many of the artifacts were given to the Birthplace Of Country Music Museum in Bristol, Virginia. A new tenant moved into 312 Broad Street in August.

This was a loss to Kingsport and another gain for the two Bristols where it's all happening these days.

Last edited by Jim37680; 10-01-2019 at 01:13 PM..
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Old 10-09-2019, 02:44 PM
 
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Kingsport defends their bench blocks as though the homeless were committing a massive crime wave throughout the town. However when I watch the news I don't see any stories that involve the homeless in crime.

Things I have learned from taking to people who frequent the Greenbelt have me questioning the thinking merits of Kingsport.

One person told me that locals had a practice of baiting baby geese and ducks to come out from their shelter and stomp on as many as they could. Stomp meaning to trample baby ducks killing them. The winner was the one who could stomp as many baby chicks to death in one time. What did Kingsport do? Nothing.

Another person told me that Kingsport views the geese, ducks and other foul and nuisance and from time to time poisons them. I find this a bit extreme and could not verify this action from any other person.

Not too long ago Eastman had a chemical spill that killed all the fish in the river and many of the birds and mammals living close to the river such as racoons, possums, squirrels, etc. What did Kingsport do? Nothing.

Bikes on the Greenbelt. The Greenbelt, and pleasant place to wake and ride, but you better be careful about the bikes. Many cyclists ride through the park like they were in the Tour de France. Most do not announce themselves as they approach from the rear. You will seldom hear, "passing on your right/left." Most people are startled when suddenly a bike swishes past them at 25-30mph on a walking trail. This is a real threat to dog walkers and seniors. What does Kingsport do? Nothing.

Speaking for the Greenbelt only it seems that the bench blocks were more an act of nepotism than anything else.
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Old 10-09-2019, 02:53 PM
 
Location: Gray, TN
2,157 posts, read 3,950,402 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donsabi View Post
Not too long ago Eastman had a chemical spill that killed all the fish in the river and many of the birds and mammals living close to the river such as racoons, possums, squirrels, etc. What did Kingsport do? Nothing.

Speaking for the Greenbelt only it seems that the bench blocks were more an act of nepotism than anything else.
The EPA would regulate chemical spills on the river. Eastman is in regular contact with the EPA regarding these matters. The EPA has vast power to levy fines and penalties on companies.

I fail to see any link to nepotism - the practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs.
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