About Pride of Kinston...

Pride of Kinston, Inc. is a nonprofit organization created in 1984 to lead revitalization strategies and activities in the City’s downtown core of 27 blocks, designated as a Municipal Service District (MSD).

It operates with two full-time staff members and part-time contractors providing services mainly in the fields of downtown appearance, business development, events development and promotion, special projects and financial matters. It operates under the supervision of a Board of Directors with 22 members, three emeritus members and four major committees comprised of board members and at-large citizen members.

The organization receives financial support from the City of Kinston, property owners in the MSD, corporate and private donors to Pride’s projects and activities, and income derived from rents paid by occupants of the Kinston Enterprise Center, small business incubator owned by Pride of Kinston.

The 2013-2014 budget is $395,000.

Pride of Kinston's Leadership...

Shirley Herring
Leraine Tolston, Chair
2015-2016 Pride of Kinston
Board of Directors


Pride is guided by a 27-member Board of Directors composed of leading business, government, non profit and civic leaders, five emeritus members, and some 24 other citizens who serve with board members on various Pride committees and teams.


Board of Directors

Leraine Tolston, Chairman - MSD
Tonya Adams - MSD
Mark Benson - MSD
Hardy Creech - MSD
Greg Hannibal - LCC
Ben Harper - MSD
Harriet Harper - MSD
William Jarman - MSD
Angie Johnson - MSD
Richard A. King -MSD
Stuart Lindley - MSD
Mark Pope - Lenoir Co.
Julian Pridgen - At Large
Tony Sears - City Manager
Adam Short - City Planning
Bert Statum - MSD
Robert Swinson, IV - City Council
Laura Lee Sylvester - CofC
Frances Theodorakis - At Large
Gordon Vermillion - At Large
Sarah Weeks - At Large
Kevin Zoltek, Treasurer - At Large
Rob Bizzell, Member Emeritus
Shirley Herring, Member Emeritus
Agnes Ho, Member Emeritus
John Marston, Member Emeritus
O.A. (Buddy) Ritch, Member Emeritus

Executive Committee

Leraine Tolston, Chair
Hardy Creech, Past Chair
Harriet Harper At Large
Bert Statum, Vice Chair
Robbie Swinson At Large
Frances Theodorakis, Sec
Kevin Zoltek, Treasurer

Current Activities

To carry out its mission, the Pride of Kinston, Inc.’s program consists of a multi-faceted array of activities. A summary of initiatives follows:

One of Pride’s the main 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.”

Focus on the goal leads to action on several fronts:

  • Promotion of downtown real estate for retail, business and service functions. Strategies include
    • property surveys,
    • advertising of available properties,
    • business needs survey,
    • advertising to attract investors and customers,
    • matching grants to assist businesses creating or upgrading websites and other technologies to grow a customer base.
  • Façade and property improvement grants
  • Apearance
    • The physical appearance of downtown has an economic dimension. With a theme “we taste first with our eyes,” Pride supports maintenance, landscaping and other efforts such as an annual “Clean Up Day,” hanging baskets and other plantings to focus on the desire and need for a clean and attractive environment in downtown.


As part of its strategy to attract residents and visitors to Kinston’s downtown, Pride sponsors several events to promote the center city as a destination. Two major events are:

  • the little bank/Pride of Kinston Run for the River usually held at the end of March each year. The race attracts hundreds of local and North Carolina runners to compete in an 8K and One Mile Fun Run along the Neuse River and through downtown.
  • Sand in the Streets outdoor summer concert series brings thousands to downtown’s Pearson Park on the banks of the Neuse River to listen to popular bands offering a variety of
    musical styles.


Within its goal to promote downtown for local residents and tourists, Pride of Kinston works with an array of partners to accomplish its aims.

  • Pride worked the State of North Carolina to secure properties which became the site of the CSS Neuse Interpretive Center, a museum housing the remains and artifacts from a Civil War-era gunboat which opens in 2013.
  • Pride donated property which is now the site of a replica of the original CSS Neuse gunboat working with the leaders of a foundation organized to build and promote a replica of the original vessel.
  • Pride has contributed nearly $30,000.00 to the Community Council for the Arts’ public art program, is represented on the Council’s public art committee and has served on various efforts to build and promote the regional African-American Music Trail.
  • Pride instigated and coordinates a regional highway billboard campaign to urge travelers to dine, shop, visit and invest in Kinston, in partnership with the local farmers market, local businesses, the Woodman Community Center, department stores, Tourism Development Authority, restaurants, Committee of 100, and tourist attractions.
  • Pride is represented on Kinston-Lenoir County Chamber of Commerce business and tourism task force, the Lenoir County Committee of 100, and the Lenoir County Historical Association.
  • Pride has worked with the North Carolina Global TransPark and the North Carolina Department of Transportation on issues affecting downtown Kinston’s vitality.
  • Pride works closely with departments of Kinston’s city government to achieve mutual goals and interests.
  • Pride is represented on the City of Kinston’s Appearance Commission and works jointly with the group on projects such as the annual Clean Up Day held each Spring.

Special Projects

Pride raised private donations to secure property and in 2013 is constructing a new park entrance into historic Maplewood-Cedar Grove-Hebrew cemeteries.

Pride coordinates the July 4th Naturalization and Granting of Citizenship in the United States ceremony in which individuals seeking citizenship take the oath on the grounds of historic Harmony Hall.


Pride of Kinston 2015-2016 Calendar

Monthly Meeting Schedule

Committee Meetings begin at 8:00 am
Design Committee Meeting at 9:00am
Marketing & Promotions
Economic Development & Property
Organization Committee

Board Meetings

Executive Committee
Board of Directors Meeting




Marketing & Promotions

Econ Dev & Property

Executive Committee

Board of Directors


August 5

August 11

August 13

August 25

August 27


October 7

October 13

October 15

October 27

October 29


December 2

December 8

December 10

December 15

December 17


February 3

February 9

February 11

February 23

February 25


April 6

April 12

April 14

April 26

April 28


June 1

June 7

June 9

June 21

June 23

*The December Meeting is held on the Third Thursday due to Christmas.

Contact Us

The Pride of Kinston office is located in the Kinston Enterprise Center, 327 North Queen Street, in downtown Kinston.

Adrian King - Executive Director
Debra Oliver - Assistant Director

(252) 522-8003


Pride of Kinston


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.

Mission Statement

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

From the Executive Director...

Adrian King's comments on community investment..

Opening Remarks - Pride of Kinston Board & Committee Retreat - October 27, 2011

Downtown Area Map

Click for a larger map...

Reports & Documents...

A Five Year Report:
w FYs 2008-2013
Pride of Kinston
May 29, 2013

2015 Main Street Report (PDF)

2010 Main Street Report (PDF)

Download Reports to the Board of Directors in PDF format or Micorsoft Word .doc format...

2009 Report (PDF | Doc)
2008 Report (PDF | Doc)
2007 Report (PDF | Doc)
2006 Report (PDF | Doc)
2005 Report (PDF | Doc)

2008 Annual Report2007 Annual Report (PDF)
Incentives BookletPride of Kinston Incentives Booklet

Adrian King's Statement about Vision for Kinston

"The Global TransPark Promise for Downtown"
(4 page PDF file; 6/03/2008)

Our Supporters...

City of Kinston's Seal

Kinston-Lenoir County Touris mDevelopment Authority



Corporate Resources

First Citizens

First South Bank

The Free Press

The Home Gardeners' Garden Club

Kendall Hill

King's Restaurant

Lenoir Memorial Hospital


the little bank

m3 Consulting & Services


Perry Management

R. A. Jeffreys Distributing



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Pride of Kinston • 327 North Queen Street • Kinston, NC 28501• (252) 522-4676
Located in the Kinston Enterprise Center