Meanderings

What the Golden Leaf Foundation Taught Me About Kinston

Last night community leaders gathered at the Waller Auditorium at Lenoir Community College to continue our conversation with the Golden Leaf Foundation. Will Lambe, part of the University of North Carolina and Golden Leaf team offered these notes on Lenoir County.

Current Economic Situation:

  • Unemployment @ 12.5% (May 2009, NC @ 11.1%)
  • Poverty Rate @ 24% (2007, NC @ 15%)
  • Median Household Income @ $31,304 (2007, NC @ $43,867)
  • Labor Force Participation @ 60% (2007, NC @ 65%)

Lenoir County Employment Sectors:

  • Health Care & Social Assistance – 23.0% (up 7.3% over the last two years)
  • Manufacturing – 14.7% (down 19.9% over the last two years)
  • Retail Trade – 11.7% (up 4.2% over the last two years)
  • Educational Services – 7.7% (up 3.4% over the last two years)
  • Accommodation & Food Services – 6.5% (down 7.6% over the last two years)
  • Construction – 6.5% (up 5.6% over the last two years)
  • Administration & Waste Services – 5.8% (down 27.1% over the last two years)
  • Public Adminstration – 5.8% (up 1.0% over the last two years)

The public sector employs about 24% of the work force (typical for rural counties).

The discerned community assets from the Golden Leaf include:

  • Workforce
  • Strong and active local institutions
  • Neuse River waterfront and historic downtown
  • Kinston Indians
  • Innovative Education Partnerships
  • Healthcare Infrastructure
  • Global Transpark

Recent Planning Efforts known to the Golden Leaf include:

  • CROSSROADS Project
  • City of Kinston / Lenoir County Strategic Economic Development Plan
  • Riverfront – Now!: Redesign of Kinston Waterfront
  • Kinston Vision and Redevelopment Plan
  • Kinston Comprehensive Economic Development Plan
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education

Key Issues and Priorities include:

  • Economic Development
  • Workforce Competitiveness
  • Downtown revitalization in Kinston (including waterfront)
  • Public Education
  • Aging population and leadership
  • Housing
  • Infrastructure and Connectivity

The University of North Carolina is committed through its Community Campus Partnership program to provide assistance for the next two years .