Drive around Kinston and Lenoir County, and you’ll see lots of new construction. The community’s growth has prompted a surge of new homes and public buildings, including two new fire stations, a community center and water park, and a long-awaited veterans nursing home.
But in the midst of growth and progress, community leaders are taking steps to ensure Kinston and Lenoir County don’t lose the hometown atmosphere that have long enticed people to make them their home. Along with economic enhancements have come amenities that improve the area's already high quality of life.
“Kinston continues to have a small-town feel, and now it has large-city amenities,” says Jim Stolze, director of community partnerships for Woodmen of the World Life Insurance Society, whose Woodmen Foundation helped fund Kinston’s new community center and water park. “The growth of new businesses surrounding the Woodmen Community Center will only increase options available to local residents. It’s the best of both worlds – a community where you know your neighbors, yet have many options for recreation.”
Woodmen Community Center
Backed by an investment of nearly $9 million from the Woodmen Foundation and contributions from the City of Kinston, Lenoir County and the Golden Leaf Foundation, the Woodmen Community Center opened in July 2012. The 53,000-square-foot building has a double gymnasium, elevated walking track, indoor and outdoor competition and therapy pools, cardiovascular fitness equipment, an advanced weight-training area, locker rooms, a snack bar and a multi-purpose banquet room.
“The Woodmen Community Center will dramatically improve the lives of Kinston and Lenoir County residents,” Stolze says. “The state-of-the-art facility will be a beacon for everyone entering Lenoir County who seeks fitness, camaraderie, family activities and community events. Having a facility of this stature will also help recruit business and commerce to the area by offering amenities that were not previously available.”
Kinston’s new Lions Water Adventure water park opens during the summer months. It includes a large pool, an 800-foot lazy river, three water slides from a 36-foot tower and a children’s pool.
“There were many significant donations by local benefactors that enabled this spectacular project to move forward,” Stolze says. “There is no water park of this magnitude within 150 miles of Lenoir County.”
Kinston Fire Stations
Kinston’s growth prompted the construction of two new fire stations, both of which opened in August 2012. Station No. 3 on Hill Farm Road and No. 2 on Carey Road replaced older, outdated stations the city’s fire department had outgrown. They were also relocated to better serve fast-growing areas.
“This gives us quicker response times to areas like the Industrial Park,” says Don Crawford, assistant fire chief for the City of Kinston. “The new stations have bi-folding doors that open from the middle to the outside to eliminate trucks hitting overhead doors when responding to calls.”
Training space, meeting rooms, sleeping quarters and full sprinkler systems are other components of the new stations.
Kinston Veterans Home
In December 2012, Kinston veterans and leaders gathered to dedicate a new 111,000-square-foot N.C. State Veterans Home, which began welcoming residents in spring 2013. Funded by federal and state governments, the 100-bed veterans home will provide skilled nursing care to Lenoir County’s large veteran population. More than a decade in the making, it is expected to employ 175 people.
“It appears the community is very excited,” says James Woodard, program director for N.C. State Veterans Homes. “We tried to take the institution feel out of it. For every 12 to 14 residents, there’s a living room with a fireplace, a day room and an eating room. It’s state-of-the-art, with a therapy pool that has underwater cameras and a floor that lowers into the water. We hope to give veterans the best care they can find in North Carolina.”
Check out more great happenings in the Kinston, NC area.