Breath of new life for our old Queen

Kinston, once, a thriving epic-center of business in Eastern North Carolina, fell hard during the recent economic crisis, closing of its mall, demise of tobacco farming and loss of key industry. Downtown was hit particularly hard, but just as a phoenix magically rise from the ashes, so is Kinston as it once again experiences a historic transformation. Kinston is resilient. Right before our eyes we see a beautiful two lane, tree lined boulevard being created on the expansive main drag of Queen Street, affectionately known as The Magic Mile. A drive down the now-open blocks between King and Gordon reveals how much better the grand boulevard is looking with the redesign and provides a sense of how beautiful she will be once completed. Queen Street is looking spectacular and fresh.

Old holly trees were removed. As part of the new landscaping, programmable LED up-lights that can change colors for the seasons are being installed under new tress. At the corner, bump-outs designed to shorten the travel distance for pedestrian who will now cross two lanes rather than four on this State highway, more landscaping soften the new hardscaping. Our historic cast iron street lights that were once fueled by gas are being retrofitted with modern LED lamping. Diagonal parking of Queen Street will increase the parking count, and once this phase of construction is completed by early fall, NCDOT will repave and restripe the street.

With over two million dollars invested in the downtown redesign, now is the time for Queen Street property owners to take a critical look at their buildings and shopfronts. The former holly trees are gone and it is very evident that some of the buildings need a little love. Pride of Kinston Downtown Revitalization can help with limited facade grant funding and design assistance, so apply sooner rather than later. Applying is easy. Request an application to submit BEFORE your work begins by calling (252)522-8003 and to schedule your consultation. Facade grants are limited to commercial properties in the designated downtown Municipal Service District.

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