Spring 2018 Newsletter
You may be wondering what the Pride of Kinston team has been up to lately. Well, the answer is quite a bit. It was important to me as the new executive director to hit the ground running since Pride of Kinston was on life support for a year.
Upon arriving, I noticed a community unity, a strong pride of place, an enthusiastic energy and progressive thinking, and a strong sense of collective history. That, my friend, is a HUGE and rare asset that we should embrace wholeheartedly and use to fuel our journey to the next phase.
Although there is still much work to do, we are all on the same ship trying to get to the same destination of a prosperous Kinston. In order to get there, we must lift anchor and set sail. Continuing to sit dockside is not getting there. We must make the necessary investments in our downtown bringing a good return on our investments. Some of these may be painful at first but are critical to our narrow window of opportunity. Think of it like curb appeal. If your neighborhood is tidy and attractive, not only are the home values stable or improved, but people enjoy living in and experiencing an attractive, healthy neighborhood. That is how we must regard our downtown. It is our front door.
It is also important to support the investments of our neighbors and friends who own local businesses. It takes a community to make a difference.
The intent of this quarterly blog/newsletter, our website, and our FB and Instagram posts is to help keep you informed of the progress, events, and news relevant to downtown Kinston.
Here is the news:
PICKERS FLEA MARKET | On Saturday, May 5, during the Chamber’s annual BBQ on the Neuse Festival, Pride is hosting a Spring Pickers Flea Market in the parking lot across the street from Lovick’s Café in the 300 block of Herritage St. If you or someone you know wants to be vendor, please visit our website at www.downtownkinston.com for more information and vendor application.
KINSTON SUMMERFEST | We have rebranded Sand in Streets summer music series to Kinston North Carolina Summerfest. This is to promote the City of Kinston when we are promoting our event in the neighboring counties; to geographically associate the festival with Kinston, not unlike the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. To see the lineup mix of our bands with links to their music on YouTube, visit our website. If you are a beach music addict, have no fear, your favorite songs will be performed. We also pushed the time back to begin at 6:30 PM. Some sponsors are providing handheld fans to help beat the summer heat. The 2-hour concert series remains a free event, but because Kinston Summerfest is a fundraiser for our non-profit organization, we discourage outside food and beverages as those are available at the concerts. Also, please note that the Farmers Market parking lot will not be open to the public this year. So arrive early to claim good spots on the street.
DEVELOPMENT – NEW SPACES COMING TO DOWNTOWN KINSTON | David Machado, a hands-on developer from California, is rolling along with his rehabilitation of 111 & 113 East Gordon St into four spacious market-rate units. Machado is utilizing historic tax credits to restore the buildings and preserve the architectural characteristics that make these properties unique. Derrick Carter, the owner of Carter Home Improvements, Inc., is in the midst of rehabbing 112 W King St with a new interior build-out as leasable office space less than one block from the Lenoir County Court House.
WEBSITE | Our www.downtownkinston.com has a new look. Our old website has been replaced with a cleaner, fresher, more exciting version that is more user-friendly for our both our local population and visitors seeking various services. For instance, our downtown merchants’ page is categorized by service. Listings are free of charge to all businesses within the designated Municipal Tax District. Businesses outside of the district can be included for a small annual fee of $240 to help offset the costs of managing the site. That is only $20 per month. Further website development will include real estate and employment sections for living, working, and investing as well as an expanded events page.
FACEBOOK | If you have not liked and are not following our Pride of Kinston FB page yet, you should. This is how we most easily stay connected with what’s going on downtown because although the blog/newsletter will come out quarterly, other things pop up that are of interest.
INSTAGRAM | Pride of Kinston is now active with Instagram. We hope you enjoy these posts as well.
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE, REVOLVING LOANS | Pride of Kinston is currently training with NC Rural Center (NCRC) to participate in NCRC’s revolving loan program to assist businesses in the City of Kinston. It is expected to be operational mid-2019.
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE, REDEVELOPMENT INCENTIVE GRANTS | The Pride of Kinston Façade Grant was reinvented as a Redevelopment Incentive Grant. The scope of work allowed has been readdressed to include interior details that are historically integral to the architecture of the building such as the exposure and restoration of pressed metal ceilings, for example. It also provides an opportunity to offset the cost of fire suppression systems, among other revisions. Funding for this grant is limited and dependent on the Pride of Kinston’s budget.
PRIDE AMBASSADORS | Helping to revitalize our community can be great fun and a terrific way to meet people. If you believe as we do that Kinston has come a long way in its economic recovery and want to be a part of its bright future, we welcome your assistance as a Pride Ambassador. Soon you will find a list of our ambassadors, fun committees, and other opportunities. Just fill out the form, note how you or your organization want to be involved – whether it's serving on a committee, a special skill set or interest you can bring, or that you simply want to assist with our events. We recognize that your free time is valuable, so whatever amount of time you are comfortable contributing is welcome and appreciated. Sign up to volunteer HERE.
GIVING | Pride of Kinston is a non-profit organization dedicated to the revitalization of downtown and improving the overall quality of life and experiences for Kinstonians and our guests. We have several tax-deductible financial giving opportunities and welcome building donations. If there is a special project that is near and dear to you and appropriate to our downtown mission, let’s discuss it. We can earmark your funding efforts for your special project.
CURRENT PROJECTS IN THE PIPELINE:
• Establishing a magical Christmas holidays-long lights experience along the Neuse River in Pearson Park and the Nature Center to bring throngs of visitors to town.
• A Tabaco leaf-inspired sculpture at Sutton Place on N. Queen to bridge the gap and create an impressive gateway for pedestrians to access Herritage St at mid-block. Metal leaves will be sold and the donor’s or in-remembrance-of name will be laser-cut through the leaf.
• A Veterans monument to span the intersections of King and Queen Streets in honor of all past, present, and future Veterans.
• Finishing the Cemetery Project on S. Queen that has been on hold for a couple of years.
It is not my town or story. It is not your town or story. It is our town and story. Kinston is a great small town. Together we can easily make it the greatest small town in Eastern North Carolina.