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Kingsport - Johnson City - Bristol The Tri-Cities area
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Old 12-21-2021, 12:28 PM
 
Location: Southern California
22 posts, read 44,371 times
Reputation: 29

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Hello All!. We are a conservative Christian family who has finally given up on the communist/socialist state of California!!! So, we have been looking for a new place to call home in a place where most people share our values. This past summer my wife and 3 of our adult kids visited both Tennessee and Florida to get a 'boots-on-the-ground' feeling (so to speak). In my heart I have always had a special feeling that maybe Tennessee was the best place, but our kids wanted to check out Florida. Well, after visiting the Knoxville / Farragut / Maryville /Sevierville areas, and then the Winter-Garden through Orlando Florida areas, Tennessee was the hands-down favorite. The people, the culture, and the beauty in Tennessee were unbeatable, and were all in line with our way of thinking.

Anyway, the Farragut/Knoxville/Maryville areas are becoming pretty popular for transplants, which of course is driving prices up (another reason we want to leave CA). Plus I am told that although Tennessee has tornadoes and pretty humid summers, the north-eastern part of the state doesn't have that many tornadoes, and the humidity is a little more tolerable. As seniors my wife and I are looking for a safe place to live, with good healthcare nearby, and of course churches. Our kids are looking for jobs that will allow them to get a place of their own someday (in a safe community which is currently not possible in CA - even with 2 incomes).

We have been advised to look in the Tri-Cities area. However we have heard that the crime rates in the Kingsport/Bristol/Johnson City area's are pretty bad and the healthcare leaves a lot to be desired. We have also been advised to check out smaller towns close-by to the Tri-cities area such as Elizabethton, Jonesborough and Gray Tennessee. But in doing some research on the internet, crime is mentioned as being high.

In any event, I thought I would ask people here for the true low-down on what's it like living in this part of Tennessee. Is crime and healthcare bad in these areas? Are tornadoes numerous and is humidity really bad in these areas? Are there any major employers in this area of Tennessee?

Let me say thanks in advance to all who offer help, advice and suggestions.

Last edited by oldpops; 12-21-2021 at 12:40 PM..

 
Old 12-21-2021, 04:10 PM
 
Location: Tri-Cities
239 posts, read 699,347 times
Reputation: 135
I live in Gray and have been here for over 14 years. We absolutely love it here. You are right about the weather -- we have humidity but it is lower as you get closer to the mountains and less tornados than other areas of the country.

Where do you see these crime rates? I have heard so many people lately say the Tri-Cities has a high crime rate and while there are a few pockets I would avoid I do not see this as a high crime area -- the main crimes are violence between family members and people who know each other. And, like many areas, there are some drug problems. But I truly do not worry about crime when I am out at night alone. I tried googling and saw some of these "crime maps" are made by home security companies so take that with a grain of salt. I would find an area you like and call the local sheriff's department or police department and see what they say.

Like I said, I like in Gray and actually the next road over is Jonesborough and both areas are very nice. Piney Flats is nice. Telford, Chuckey and Limestone often have very pretty mountain views.

Healthcare -- thankfully we have not had to use the healthcare system much, but when we have it has been okay. A negative right now is ALL the hospitals in the area are owned by the own company which has not enhanced the area.

The largest employer is probably the hospital system, Ballad. Although I am not positive about that. Eastman is a major employer as is Citi. There are several others -- what industry are you interested in? Feel free to send me a DM for anything specific.
 
Old 12-21-2021, 09:14 PM
 
Location: TN/NC
35,057 posts, read 31,271,982 times
Reputation: 47514
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldpops View Post
Hello All!. We are a conservative Christian family who has finally given up on the communist/socialist state of California!!! So, we have been looking for a new place to call home in a place where most people share our values. This past summer my wife and 3 of our adult kids visited both Tennessee and Florida to get a 'boots-on-the-ground' feeling (so to speak). In my heart I have always had a special feeling that maybe Tennessee was the best place, but our kids wanted to check out Florida. Well, after visiting the Knoxville / Farragut / Maryville /Sevierville areas, and then the Winter-Garden through Orlando Florida areas, Tennessee was the hands-down favorite. The people, the culture, and the beauty in Tennessee were unbeatable, and were all in line with our way of thinking.

Anyway, the Farragut/Knoxville/Maryville areas are becoming pretty popular for transplants, which of course is driving prices up (another reason we want to leave CA). Plus I am told that although Tennessee has tornadoes and pretty humid summers, the north-eastern part of the state doesn't have that many tornadoes, and the humidity is a little more tolerable. As seniors my wife and I are looking for a safe place to live, with good healthcare nearby, and of course churches. Our kids are looking for jobs that will allow them to get a place of their own someday (in a safe community which is currently not possible in CA - even with 2 incomes).

We have been advised to look in the Tri-Cities area. However we have heard that the crime rates in the Kingsport/Bristol/Johnson City area's are pretty bad and the healthcare leaves a lot to be desired. We have also been advised to check out smaller towns close-by to the Tri-cities area such as Elizabethton, Jonesborough and Gray Tennessee. But in doing some research on the internet, crime is mentioned as being high.

In any event, I thought I would ask people here for the true low-down on what's it like living in this part of Tennessee. Is crime and healthcare bad in these areas? Are tornadoes numerous and is humidity really bad in these areas? Are there any major employers in this area of Tennessee?

Let me say thanks in advance to all who offer help, advice and suggestions.
Kingsport has a crime rate roughly twice the national average, by C-D's own records. Johnson City and Bristol hover around the national averages. Most of the violent crime in this area is drug and/or domestic related, and generally contained among people who are already known to each other. Some property crime is an issue, particularly in Kingsport, downtown JC, and some rural areas, but basic protections like keeping things out of sight and doors locked are enough to deter it.

I've been a property owner on the south side of JC for about a year and now in Bristol for going on three years at two different condo complexes. I've had packages left for a couple of days on my front porch in Bristol with no issues.

Prices are up all throughout this area - to the greatest extent in Johnson City. Keep in mind that Johnson City has the area's regional state university, VA hospital, HQ of the regional hospital system, and is the region's shopping/dining/nightlife hub. It is simply the best place to live in the area, and also has proximity to Asheville, NC and mountain recreation is Carter/Unicoi counties, and western NC.

Bristol and Kingsport might be at somewhat of a discount compared to metro Knoxville. Johnson City is likely to be priced somewhere between Farragut and maybe Maryville. Bristol is smaller, but coming on strong with The Pinnacle (newest and probably best area retail development), The Falls (slow start on the Bristol, VA side, but improving), and a highly rejuvenated downtown area. There's also a secondary economy in Bristol geared around NASCAR, country music, and tourism in southwest VA.

I live in Bristol, and generally like it. With that said, I bought in 2019 right before COVID, and my commute (then) was to Kingsport. Kingsport was a no-go, and the commute between JC/KPT on I-26 at rush hour is a bear. Had I known I'd have been working from six months after the purchase, permanently, I'd have just bought in Johnson City. FWIW, I bought for $96k in Bristol in 2019, and comps in the condo complex are now $130k-$140k.

The healthcare thing is a sore spot for me. The basics are fine. I've seen numerous friends and associates referred out of area for anything even semi-sophisticated. If I had a significant health condition, there's no way I'd live here, if I needed to depend on local healthcare resources. I'm not faulting the staff - but there are major systemic problems in the region's main healthcare system. Send me a message if you want more details.

The job market here, at least for white collar professionals, has been historically depressed and low paying. Pay from CA will be lower, and it might even be lower relative to cost of living. They'd definitely need an offer, and some backup plans, before moving here. I started my career here a decade ago, and had to move to various Midwestern metros for about five years to "skill up" enough to get a good job here. If my current, local job vaporized, I'd be looking for something remote or moving.

It's a decent place to live, but there are a lot of shortcomings. Prices are now becoming extremely out of whack with what most local wage owners can afford, except in rural areas and undesirable places. The airport basically connects you to CLT/ATL, with a handful of flights to other places (Dallas, seasonal FL destinations). We're also an hour or two from "upper middle class" retail like Costco/Whole Foods. Three or more hours away from an NFL city with a serious airport (Charlotte).

It's up to you. The best aspects are the natural beauty, temperate weather, and virtually no likelihood of a weather disaster. The geographic isolation, poor healthcare, and difficulty to get anywhere else can be a challenge.
 
Old 12-22-2021, 10:38 AM
 
8,079 posts, read 10,073,130 times
Reputation: 22670
Lots positive to be said about the area.

If you want churches, we got 'em. Just be careful. Couple years back the religious community got together and tried to stop the state from supporting the Federal Law/Supreme Court decision supporting marriage between two people of the same sex. Recently a friend's husband died, and she about got rode out of town because he was a democrat (quietly) and he (and she) were told by a pillar of the church that they are going to hell because of it. Not sure how the accuser knew such beliefs would send them to hell, but both of these events are, in my book, not very embracing, nor "Christian". Not very Christian in my opinion, but they pretend to be so, and you will have to sort that out for yourself. Maybe it is the local "ministers" inciting their flock and individually, the folks are better than that. Just be careful. WE do have a great Unitarian Church in Kingsport from what i am told, so maybe that is an option.

Crime is a non-issue. Maybe yes, families do stupid things to each other, and likely drugs/money are involved in much of the crime. As for general population crime, it is very low and not prevalent.

Health care is adequate. Previous comments are pretty accurate. Basic stuff is fine, and there are a couple of better specialists. For things above the routine, like ortho, heart, neuro, cancer etc you go to the specialists at Vanderbilt, UVa, Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, etc. They all understand the local situation and have facilities and programs which specifically address the local shortcomings.

Grocery stores are pretty weak. Restaurants too.

But the people are very welcoming, very friendly and very helpful. The out of doors is wonderful. Lakes, mountains, and every imaginable activity which you can think of is available. Mostly, there are great places where you can get away from everybody for as long as you wish.

Humidity is a non-issue as long as you stay in the northeast part of TN and stay on the North side of the Mountains. Once you go west, or south, it is a sauna. Elevation has a lot to do with it. Check climate stats and you will see what i mean. Tornadoes generally stay away from the mountains.

Home prices are up, but generally lower than many other places in the US. Inventory is low, builders are beyond busy, and will be so for about a year or more after the rest of the US Housing market starts to correct.

Jobs pay poorly unless you fit one of the specialties: Health Care, Corporate at Eastman and a few other certain situations. If you come here with a pension, you will find that it goes a long way.

It's a great place. JC is fine. Bristol a little lost (they are going to try a casino and see if that will pull them out of the doldrums, so you can imagine how far down the desperate scale they are), and Kingsport a gritty industrial town. The best way to figure it all out is to come and spend a week or two, work with a realtor, eat and drink in the local hangouts, and rub elbows with the locals and you will learn what you need to know.

And really, the church people generally leave you alone...but just be careful, unless i don't understand modern Christianity.
 
Old 12-22-2021, 11:21 AM
 
Location: Southern California
22 posts, read 44,371 times
Reputation: 29
Thanks everyone! As far as the comments on crime, California has some crime between people who know each other (lots of domestic assault/abuse, etc.), but there is an enormous amount of random crime, where the attacker/assailant doesn't know the victim. A couple of years ago governor hair-do (gruesome Newsome) and the democrat controlled state legislature passed a law that all thefts under $950 bucks are to be considered misdemeanors. As a result, the police won't even come out for any theft because the most they could do is issue a ticket. Heck, if your car gets stolen, they even ask you what year / kind / condition etc. before they take a theft report because if it isn't worth much (in their eyes) they might consider it's value less than the trouble of coming out.

Now bands of thugs, 80, 90, even a 100 kids, who don't even know each other, get on social media and plan to flash mob-steal from a particular store (or stores). Nothing is done because they always take less than the $950 bucks(per individual). They run out of the store with the stuff in their arms and dump it in a car. Then they go back in again because that's a separate incident. Then there is the gang activity. They have drive-by shootings, and gang member wanna-be's get points for killing people!! Drugs are a joke out here! Instead of chasing criminals, the state wants the cops to harass people whose mask slipped and fell below their nose. This is crazy town! I could go on and on.

Anyway, it doesn't sound like this kind of crime goes on out there. Sorry to ask a dumb question but: "What cities are on the north side of the mountain that would have the lower humidity?" I will try and figure out how to PM someone but I haven't done that before so it might take me a bit of time.
 
Old 12-22-2021, 05:55 PM
 
Location: TN/NC
35,057 posts, read 31,271,982 times
Reputation: 47514
Random violent crime is virtually nil. There is some random property crime, but as long as you take basic safety precautions, it's generally not an issue. No "smash and grab" mobs.

Typically, you want to look for elevation. Johnson City is higher than Kingsport by about 500'. There's a couple degree drop (at least) during the summer. Higher elevations in the mountains of Unicoi, Carter, and Johnson counties will have the lowest humidity and lower temperatures. Elevations tend to fall off west of Kingsport.
 
Old 12-23-2021, 03:01 AM
 
Location: Kingsport
195 posts, read 275,490 times
Reputation: 185
As Ted Bear pointed out "Crime is a non-issue" Most of the rap Kingsport gets from crime is from using FBI and TBI crime data to rank communities. That process has some serious shortcomings since it is based on incidents only and not the issues surrounding the data. Almost all experts who study crime and the FBI warns against those types of rankings. Besides the lack of complete examination of the issues not all police and county law enforcement agencies file complete reports every year and there are no controls to accomplish that. I've lived in Kingsport for almost 30 years and haven't found the crime issue to be any worse than it was in the Huntington Beach - Fountain Valley Calif area. Yes, the instances of violent crime have increased in all the Tri-Cities, but if you dig deep enough you'll find most of the violent crime is concentrated in subsections of the population.
 
Old 12-23-2021, 06:25 AM
 
Location: Arkansas (Eventually Wisconsin)
41 posts, read 43,468 times
Reputation: 101
The Tri-Cities are overall pretty safe and Johnson City is home to ETSU so the healthcare is pretty good. The area has also seen lots of transplants like most of Tennessee (though I've noticed more New Yorkers than Californians there). This is also an issue in Florida. I would recommend checking out Kentucky, Missouri, or even Arkansas and West Virginia. They're similar to Tennessee minus the large amounts of transplants.
 
Old 12-23-2021, 10:17 AM
 
Location: Jonesborough, TN
712 posts, read 1,487,461 times
Reputation: 810
I’ve described the crime issue in depth in previous postings that can be looked up (I am a local criminal justice professor). Basically, random crime is rare, most crime is either domestic between people who know each other or between those who are involved with drugs in some way. The stats get blown up because the police do such a good job at responding to and making arrests for crimes that are reported. That is a good thing!

Let me address one other thing: the trend among most states is to increase the threshold for misdemeanor/felony theft. It used to be $500 or below for most states, now it is often at least $750 and up to $2,500. In TN and Virginia the threshold is now $1,000, Florida it is $750. The issue of police not responding to misdemeanors is a separate issue. Again, we generally have good police in this region and haven’t had many of the public relations problems that other areas have had. We do have a recruitment and retention problem among police that appears to be nationwide.
 
Old 12-23-2021, 11:13 AM
 
30,894 posts, read 36,943,634 times
Reputation: 34516
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldpops View Post
Thanks everyone! As far as the comments on crime, California has some crime between people who know each other (lots of domestic assault/abuse, etc.), but there is an enormous amount of random crime, where the attacker/assailant doesn't know the victim. A couple of years ago governor hair-do (gruesome Newsome) and the democrat controlled state legislature passed a law that all thefts under $950 bucks are to be considered misdemeanors. As a result, the police won't even come out for any theft because the most they could do is issue a ticket. Heck, if your car gets stolen, they even ask you what year / kind / condition etc. before they take a theft report because if it isn't worth much (in their eyes) they might consider it's value less than the trouble of coming out.
This is correct except for the fact that it wasn't Newsom and the legislature who passed this law. It was actually California voters via Prop 47. That makies it even worse, in my mind. I can't tell you how many times I've had my car broken into in the last 2 years. And it's a similar story from people I work with. My neighborhood lost a grocery store and a drug store, largely due to thefts. There's a lot of property crime here in CA that just goes unreported because everyone knows nothing will be done. Californians complain about things but often do not connect the dots between how they vote and the results right under their noses.
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