Pride of Kinston is one of 65 Main Street communities in North Carolina in a program coordinated by the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Division of Community Assistance. (www.nccommerce.com).
The Main Street idea is to stimulate all aspects of downtown development emphasizing public-private partnerships while stressing quality, self-help and incremental improvement using an array of local assets.
Pride of Kinston's Leadership...
Pride of Kinston is guided by a 22-member Board of Directors composed of leading business and civic leaders.
To carry out its mission, the Pride of Kinston, Inc.'s current year program consists of a multi-faceted array of activities, some with short term goals and objectives, and others with long term implications for the community. A summary of current initiatives follows:
I. Incentives for Downtown Development
One of Pride of Kinston's goals is to: "Strengthen the existing economic assets of downtown while diversifying its economic base through business retention, recruitment and outreach to developers, investors and entrepreneurs."
Throughout its history, Pride has focused on this goal in a number of ways:
II. Downtown Development
Another Goal of Pride of Kinston is to: "Promote downtown as an attractive place for residents, visitors and investors through activities including retail merchandising, community education, special events, tourism, public relations and marketing."
Under that goal, Pride works with its partners the Lenoir County tourism development director, the Lenoir County Heritage Tourism Council, and the Kinston-Lenoir County Tourism Development Authority.
Adoption of Heritage Tourism Plan: In partnership with the Kinston-Lenoir County Tourism Development Authority and three downtown recipients of Golden Leaf Foundation grants (Black Heritage Society, CSS Neuse Gunboat Association and the Historical Preservation Group), Pride helped craft a county-wide tourism development plan in 2005 adopted by City and County governments.
Creation of Museum Row and Museum Thursday: Kinston's downtown is rich in its cultural amenities. Significant assets include Caswell No. 1 Fire Station Museum, the Cultural Heritage Museum, CSS Neuse Civil War Museum, the CSS Neuse II, Harmony Hall, the historic Colonial, Maplewood, Cedar Grove and Hebrew cemeteries, the Community Council for the Arts and the Neuseway Nature Center.
With Pride's encouragement, the groups banded together to establish Museum Thursday: each organization pledges to be open to the public on that day each week. Increased accessibility for tourists, schools, and residents is the aim.
Publication of Museum Row marketing brochure: Recognizing the need for improved marketing, Pride published a new "Kinston's Museum Row" brochure describing in detail the organizations and sites which comprise Museum Row. The brochure was distributed to teachers in Lenoir County
Creation of Historic Cemeteries Task Force: Kinston's downtown historic cemeteries ranks near the top of under utilized assets for community and tourism development. The Cedar Grove, Colonial, Hebrew and Maplewood cemeteries represent the final resting places for many of Kinston and Lenoir County's early leaders and families. Little in the way of restoration and appreciation has been undertaken in recent years. With Pride's encouragement, a special historic cemeteries task force, being led by former City Council member Herb Spear, has been created and is at work to develop restoration and preservation plans. A "community day" held Oct. 29, 2005 at Maplewood/Cedar Grove/Hebrew created greater awareness of the significance of these burial grounds, and attracted a large number of people who have ancestors buried in the city-owned and managed facilities.
Plans are in the works for enhanced informational markers, landscaping, preservation and protection of grave stones, tours, and special programs at the sites.
Pride is also managing a project to enhance the appearance of South Queen Street, creating a new park like-entrance into the historic cemeteries off Queen Street, increasing their visibility as tourist destinations. It is hoped this new investment will stimulate additional efforts to make the entrance into Kinston a more pleasant ride.
Committee Meetings begin at 8:00 am
*The December Meeting is held on the Third Thursday due to Christmas.
The Pride of Kinston office is located in the Kinston Enterprise Center, 327 North Queen Street, in downtown Kinston.
Adrian King - Executive Director
Pride of Kinston • 327 North Queen Street • Kinston, NC 28501• (252)