KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – Kinston Teens is leading a new effort to reduce crime and beautify the city through the Adopt-A-Lot program.
Through the program, churches, businesses, or groups can adopt one of the many vacant lots in Kinston, and use the land to create something positive.
“I feel like it would be a great way to beautify the community and get young people involved in improving how the atmosphere and environment of Kinston looks,” said Chris Suggs, the founder of Kinston Teens.
Anyone interested in adopting the lot must first submit an application that details which lot they want, and how they plan to use it.
No permanent structure can be built on the land for at least the first two years. Suggs said what the more than 1,000 vacant lots in Kinston could be transformed into is something like gardens, art displays, and flower fields.
The program was made a reality in part due to a $50,000 grant from the U.S. Conference of Mayors in 2016.
“You’d much rather have a lot that’s got a piece of art or a garden on it then one that has a lot of weeds and trash,” said Kinston Mayor BJ Murphy.
People in the community feel as if the program could be the start of something really good for Kinston.
“I think it will help with the kids, getting them off the street and give them a better opportunity instead of gang violence and stuff like that,” said Reginald Ford Jr.
Groups who adopt a lot and maintain it for two years could potentially receive the land for free if it were to be used for a non-profit. At that point, a structure could be built on the land.
Groups wishing to use the land for a profit at that point could still receive it, but would have to pay market rate.
If you’re interested in adopting a lot, click here.