CCP has awarded a $20,000 grant to Thomas Stith, program director for economic development for the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at UNC-Chapel Hill in support of his project titled “City of Kinston: Development Led Economic Development.” The project builds on the existing economic growth occurring in Kinston and surrounding Lenoir County, and it targets the area flanking one of the community’s major thorough fares, Highway 11/MLK Corridor, for redevelopment.
Over the next six months, Stith and his team of UNC graduate students will work closely with City of Kinston staff to establish priorities and determine the most appropriate course of action for the proposed redevelopment initiative. The team will identify parcels of land (“development nodes”) in areas with high potential for growth and will create plans to facilitate development. They will also conduct stakeholder meetings with city administrators, community leaders, and the development community to assess which models will meet the identified needs of the community. Once completed, the team will present their findings and proposed plans to Kinston city staff for review and approval.
In the short run, the initiative will work with the City of Kinston to facilitate the creation and development of one of the parcels of land deemed ready for immediate development. Over the long run, the City will be able to use the initiative’s list of development nodes as well as related marketing and development plans in future development efforts. Ultimately, the goals of the initiative are to enhance economic development, create jobs, and create a revitalized corridor that enhances the quality of life within the community and serves as a competitive advantage for the city of Kinston.
“The City of Kinston is experiencing exceptional economic growth with the addition of Spirit Aerosystems and Sanderson Farms,” Stith says. “Utilizing proven development strategies as a basis for economic development, the Highway 11 / MLK Corridor can be transformed into a vibrant residential and commercial destination.”
Will Lambe authored the NC Rural Center report, Small Towns, Big Ideas, and he served as Director of the Community and Economic Development Program at the School of Government from 2009 to 2014.