August 8, 2014

More Changes in the Air

If ideas considered earlier this week are eventually adopted, the new bridges to be built across the Neuse River will become a very attractive gateway into downtown Kinston.

That was the opinion of members of Pride of Kinston’s Design Committee after meeting with a top environmental designer for North Carolina’s Department of Transportation (DOT).

The committee, headed by Pride board member Sarah Weeks, reviewed a series of concepts August 6, 2014 advanced by landscape designer Jeff Lackey, aesthetic engineering section supervisor with DOT.

The current bridges across the river and the others between the river and entrance onto South Queen Street will be closed beginning in early 2015 followed by construction of new structures to take approximately 18 months.

The ideas which gained support of the Design Committee, which has been tasked to provide citizen comment to DOT for the bridge project, include:

  1. A major landscaping plan at the Hwy. 70 intersection with the bridge beautifying the gateway entrance onto the bridge and thence into downtown Kinston.
  2. Construction of artistically designed columns, so called plinths, at the entrances onto the bridges.
  3. Ten new light poles (6 on the main structure and 4 on the others) each designed to fly colorful/informational banners leading into town.
  4. Railings in the Texas Classic design were earlier recommended and adopted by DOT for installation with capacity for added artistic elements.
  5. A walkway is to be built adjacent to the four lanes for automobile traffic.

KINSTON Gateway Developments & Concepts (Landscape Developments)

Members of the Design Committee who met with Mr. Lackey were Ms. Weeks, chair; Beth Greene, Harriet Harper, Shirley Herring, John Jarrell, Richard King, Philip Southerland and Mary Page Whitley. DOT representatives in the Kinston office Johnny Metcalfe and Aaron Bullard accompanied Mr. Lackey for the presentation.

A New Queen Street???

While the end of Queen Street Extension will have a new look when the new bridges are constructed, Kinston’s main drag might also sparkle if a plan emerging from Pride’s Economic and Property Development Committee comes to pass.

A special Queen Street re-design task force, being led by committee member Larry Moolenaar, will soon be promoting a new design for the main street making it more attractive, more pedestrian friendly and more conducive to enhanced tourism.

The ideas are being posed as plans are being drawn by the City of Kinston and the NCDOT with a major impact on Queen Street.

  1. The City of Kinston plans to replace water and sewer lines under Queen Street.
  2. Following the work to replace the underground lines, plans are in the works to re-pave Queen Street.
  3. Further, the City of Kinston is working on a new land use plan for the city as a blueprint for future growth.

Ideas being considered by the Pride task force are to install attractive cross walks with creative “bump outs,” and reinstituting angled parking on the street---nearly doubling the amount of available parking on the street.

It was noted that a new Queen Street parking plan could make it necessary for DOT to re-direct large tractor trailers around the street, akin to the requirement for tractor trailers to go around Snow Hill’s main street, for example.

The outlines of the plan were presented to John Rouse, DOT District Engineer, at a June 9, 2014 meeting. It was noted by Mr. Moolenaar and others that the timing for a new look at Queen Street’s design is compatible with all the other plans for the street’s environment: the new bridges, replacing water and sewer lines and re-paving the street.

Downtown business owners and managers and City Government officials are being invited to consider the ideas being raised by the Pride task force.

Enticing new investors

317 - 321 N. Queen StreetPride of Kinston is ramping up its efforts to attract new investors to the downtown business district.

A growing campaign to highlight properties available for lease or purchase details information about each under the Invest in Downtown site on Pride’s website.

A project of Pride’s Economic and Property Development committee headed by Stuart Lindley, buildings deemed to be in good condition and available for immediate use are candidates for the enlarged promotional effort.

The current listing includes:
127 N. Queen Street
215 N. Queen Street
311 N. Queen Street
106 W. Gordon Street


"The vision of Pride of Kinston, Inc. is a downtown on the banks of the Neuse River that serves as the gateway to Eastern North Carolina. Our appreciation of history guides our future and promotes the magic to grow business, recreation, and the arts."

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What Is Pride of Kinston?

The mission of Pride of Kinston, Inc., established in 1984, is to lead downtown revitalization in Kinston using the Main Street approach developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which promotes economic development within the context of historic preservation.

Pride of Kinston is one of 57 Main Street communities in North Carolina in a program coordinated by the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Division of Community Assistance. ( For more information about Pride of Kinston, see About Pride.

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Pride of Kinston • 327 North Queen Street • Kinston, NC 28501• (252) 522-4676
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Artist Bruce D. Ziegler has generously made available to Pride his portrait of
downtown Kinston as signature for Pride's website.