KDPDC (currently called the ‘Downtown Committee’) had its beginnings in 1993, when the Mayor of the Town of Kernersville and the President of the Kernersville Chamber of Commerce appointed a “Downtown Revitalization Committee” to develop plans to preserve the historic qualities of downtown Kernersville and prevent the deterioration of the central business district. The initial committee consisted of two long-time residents of the community (Shirley Snow and John Staples), two new members of the community (Jean Burns and Jim Harper), two downtown business owners (Janie Veach and Richard Hedgecock), two business persons with interests outside the core downtown area (Imogene Lambe and Sam Munday), a representative of the banking community (Betsy Ingram), a representative from Duke Power (Neil Bowen), two representatives from the Town of Kernersville (Mayor Tom Prince and Town Manager Randy McCaslin) and two representatives from the Chamber of Commerce (President Arnold King and Executive Director Carson Roper).
This committee began conducting monthly meetings to discuss the future of downtown Kernersville, potential for underground utilities, potential for additional parking, downtown promotional events, facade improvements, streetscape projects, sidewalk improvements, economic development, etc. An application was filed for participation in the “Main Street Program.” We were not selected, in part, because we were not well enough organized, did not have a Director and did not have financial backing in place to sustain a downtown revitalization effort. It was suggested that we seek the assistance of the North Carolina Downtown Development Association (NCDDA).
At its March 9, 1994 meeting, the committee officially chose the name “Kernersville Downtown Preservation and Development Council.” At this same meeting, the following mission statement was adopted: “The purpose of the Kernersville Downtown Preservation and Development Council is to develop and promote a positive plan that will strengthen and enhance the downtown area, preserve the historic heritage and foster a healthy economic climate for the entire community.”
The Council arranged for a technical review team from the NCDDA to visit Kernersville on March 29-31, 1994. This team toured the town and interviewed several individuals. They made a presentation of their recommendations at a Town Hall meeting on March 31 and later provided a comprehensive written report of their recommendations. They suggested an organizational structure that consisted of the following committees:
-Promotion and Marketing -Physical Image
-Organization -Economic Development
Board members were assigned to these committees at the May 1994 council meeting. These committees began exploring the possibilities of incorporation, arranged for an architect (Jo Leimenstoll) to visit the town and make a presentation to the council, adopted the Depot as a project, had a presentation on historical preservation by Tim Walters, had a presentation by Lee Ann Pegram of the City-County Planning Staff, conducted a community survey concerning downtown shopping needs, visited the Depot in Salisbury and toured downtown Burlington with their Director, adopted by-laws and began the application process to attain non-profit status. With the many projects in the works, it became evident that a full-time staff person was going to be necessary to coordinate these activities. At the September 14, 1994 meeting of the Council, it was unanimously agreed to pursue the hiring of a Director. The Council held a retreat to determine the projects that would be undertaken, work on a budget for this position and prepare a presentation to the Board of Aldermen.
The Kernersville Board of Aldermen, at their April 1995 meeting, approved the funding to hire an Executive Director for KDPDC. The Town contributed funds for the salary and the Chamber of Commerce agreed to provide free rent, utilities and office support (use of copier, telephone, etc.). KDPDC’s first Executive Director, Ms. Leslie Sharp, was employed on September 15, 1995. She resigned in July, 1996, to return to college.
Ms. Tara Wall Staley was hired in July, 1996, as Executive Director and served in that position until January, 1998. Ms. Kimberly Simser King has served as Executive Director since April, 1998.
The KDPDC offices were relocated from the Chamber of Commerce to 105 W. Mountain Street in 2000 – and moved to its current location at 120 N. Main Street in March 2008.
KDPDC’s “Downtown Spotlight” has recognized façade improvements at the following locations:
- Stuart Building
- Lizzie’s Herb Shoppe
- Main Street Baptist Church
- Osborne’s Florist
- Hooker Furniture
- Fagg House
- Town of K’ville
- The Graham House
- Highland Industries
- K&C Jewelers
- Pegg Tea Room
- Chiropractic Center
- Snow Building
- KDPDC Park
- Taylor Insurance
- Pegg Construction
- Frank Kerner Building
- Bellamy House
- Ceramics Unleased
- Pierce Jefferson Funeral
- Dance Unlimited
- Ellington Jewelers
- Norman Bennett
- Caudle Electric
- Romerg Little Spa
Other beautification projects coordinated by KDPDC have included the small park area next to R. Hedgecock’s Framing Studio and the Dobson Tavern Site monument.
KDPDC has worked closed with the Town Staff to develop a Streetscape Plan for downtown and also helped produce a documentary about downtown for CAT-TV.
Downtown Kernersville brochures in have been distributed to Visitor Centers throughout the State.
KDPDC has raised donations in excess of $20,000 to purchase eight (8) decorative trash receptacles and 12 benches for downtown.
KDPDC took orders and 32 concrete flower pots that were purchased by downtown merchants. We sincerely appreciate the efforts of our downtown businesses to keep flowers planted in these pots because of the beauty it adds to our downtown.
A major project on the north end of Town is the renovation of the Historic Depot and the Town Clock donated by the Rotary Club and the Flag Pole donated by the Lions Club.
Our annual downtown events include an Open House during the Christmas Holiday Season and our popular Halloween Trick or Treat. We have sponsored other events such as Community Yard Sales, Fall Festivals, Chili Suppers and New Year’s Eve Party.
We publish a monthly newsletter, write a weekly column for the Kernersville News and conduct a monthly “Meet Me On Main” meeting to keep our property owners and business owners advised of the happenings in downtown.
We encourage our property owners to keep us advised of vacancies downtown so that we may refer potential tenants to them. We’re also eager to work with property owners to obtain quotes for façade improvements.
We work closely with the following organizations and individuals:
- Community Appearance Commission (holiday decorations)
- Town of Kernersville Planning Department
(sign ordinance, overlay district, etc.)
- Parks and Recreation Department (flower bed beside John Wolfe’s office)
- Kernersville Historic Society (holiday events)
- Kernersville Rotary Club (Rotary Youth Leadership Academy)
- Chamber of Commerce (available properties, Music at Twilight)
- Downtown Merchants (window displays, flower pot plantings, facades, etc.)
We have a lot to offer downtown…. and we’re always looking for volunteers.
Please give us a call (993-4521) or stop by the chamber office for a visit.