03/28/07 — Lenoir tourism center could be ready this summer

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Lenoir tourism center could be ready this summer

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on March 28, 2007 1:45 PM

KINSTON -- Construction is moving forward on the new Kinston-Lenoir County Visitors and Information Center, a 3,200-square-foot building at the corner of Queen Street and the U.S. 70 Bypass.

It is scheduled for completion in late summer.

The center is located at 101 East New Bern Road on property owned by Lenoir County.

It is being constructed on about one acre with about $400,000 in grant money from the N.C. Department of Transportation.

Lenoir County Tourism Director Lucy Marston said,

"This facility could well give our tourism effort here in Kinston and Lenoir County a huge boost," said Lenoir County Tourism Director Lucy Marston. "The main emphasis in the center will be on the area's Civil War history, something that visitors to Kinston know relatively little about. Of course, we will have information on all of the attractions in the county."

The building is part of the Department of Transportation's Blue-Grey Scenic Byway, a route that follows the path of Union troops as they marched from New Bern toward Goldsboro, where they planned to destroy the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad bridge over the Neuse River.

North and South fought it out at the Kinston bridge on Dec. 14-16, 1862, with the Confederate forces eventually withdrawing. The Union forces eventually advanced to Seven Springs and to Goldsboro. Battles broke out at both locations before the Union troops retreated back to New Bern.

"When complete, we will have a replica of the Civil War-era wooden bridge as an overlook, allowing visitors to look across the Neuse at the angle of the bridge that was burned during the Battle of Kinston," Marston said.

The Lenoir County Tourism office will be relocated to the new center. Attractions will eventually include a large outdoor relief map depicting the Kinston battle.