We know our town is growing. We can see it in the new buildings, new houses, improvements to roads, and the number of people who visit and shop here on a weekly basis. How did we get here and where do we go now?
The Kernersville Quadrennial report or, “Kernersville 2020,” was initiated by the Economic Development Advisory Council of the Kernersville Chamber of Commerce in 1996. The process was completed and initial goals were established in 1997. The initial Kernersville 2020 document identified twenty-seven major issues and developed 104 strategies to address them. The plan was reviewed and updated in 1999, 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012, and will be updated again in 2016. The latest update can be found on the Chamber website, www.KernersvilleNC.com.
- Triad Business Park (FedEx Ground, FFF, and Columbiana Hi Tech) and Medical Business Park (Kernersville Medical Center and the VA Healthcare Center): Both areas continue to grow as the economy recovers.
- Historic Downtown Kernersville and Tourism Efforts: Körner’s Folly, Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden, Chamber of Commerce, Kernersville Historical Preservation Society, Community Appearance Commission, civic clubs and private individuals continue to do a good job in these areas. Two items mentioned in 2008 were for a Farmers Market downtown and a restaurant in The Factory. The Farmers Market opened in 2010 and a restaurant opened in The Factory in 2013. Improvements to North Main Street will continue to pay dividends by attracting additional investments in the downtown area. Recent builds on North Cherry Street and West Mountain Street continue the growth of the downtown footprint.
- Recycling and Solid Waste Disposal: The Town of Kernersville continues to address these issues. Significant progress has been made since these issues were identified in the original Kernersville 2020 document.
- Public Facilities: Public Library, Civic Center, Parks and Recreation
- Transportation Issues: Highways, Mass Transit, Sidewalks, and Greenways
The primary remaining issues, most of which were identified when this process began fourteen years ago, involve significant public investments in infrastructure. In some cases, an investment by the Town can be leveraged to secure funds from other sources to accomplish these initiatives. In other cases, it might be necessary for the Town to consider a bond referendum to give the citizens of Kernersville an opportunity to express their opinion concerning the worthiness of these projects:
- Public Library – Bond referendum was approved by the voters that allocated $6,000,000 for a library in Kernersville. Land was recently secured and plans are ongoing off of Harmon Lane. We are in the planning stages with the first step working on a design build and selecting an architect.
- Highways The South Main Street commercial district, Kernersville Medical Center, FedEx Ground, and the VA Clinic have continued to accelerate the need for improvements to the highway system serving Kernersville. Interchanges on Business 40 at Macy Grove Road and Big Mill Farm Road along with an interchange on I-40 and Macy Grove Road are looking good. With local improvements to Salisbury Street, Union Cross Road, Piney Grove Road, Smith Edwards Road, Whicker Road, Shields Road, Old Winston Road, South Main and Cherry intersection; these projects are essential to relieving congestion and efficiently moving traffic in and around Kernersville.
- Sidewalks and Greenways – The expansion of sidewalks and greenways throughout the community address not only a transportation issue, but also a health and quality of life issue for those who use these amenities for recreational opportunities. Access to an improved sidewalk system is also extremely important for citizens with disabilities.
Community Development from the Town of Kernersville compiles information each year for the annual report. We find that our town is growing because people want to live here, it is also because of the opportunities we offer.
Number of People Moving Into Town: The supply of housing also needs to meet the demands of buyers. Demographic trends play a major role in housing demands. Post-recession housing demands are not projected to be a straight linear trend from the pre-recession housing trends.
The baby boomers, which range in age from mid-40s to mid-60s, are still a decade away from starting a massive movement towards retirement communities. A 2009 survey by RCLCO, a real estate advisory firm, found that 75% of retiring baby boomers want to live in mixed age and mix-use areas that are walkable. Numerous reports currently show selling existing homes is difficult because many people are underwater in their mortgage and there are fewer buyers. Generations “X” and “Y” are the future buyers of baby boomers’ homes, and their numbers are smaller. Generations “X” are the mid-30s to mid-40s, and “Y” are the teens to mid-30s. Generations “X” and “Y” make up the households currently being formed that want to buy a house or are the “move-up buyers.”
Number of Jobs Available: The economy is a major variable impacting the housing construction industry. Kernersville’s growth is directly tied to the Piedmont Triad Metropolitan Region economy. As new jobs come to the community, and the greater Triad metropolitan region, the demand for new housing construction occurs.
Many of our employers continue to offer job opportunities. Larger employers work with Forsyth Tech to offer training education specific to employment opportunities. In 2014 alone, there were permits issued for 12 Commercial/Office/Industrial companies.
Events that Bring People to Buy in Kernersville: Events at Ivey Redmond Park consist of Soccer Tournaments, Lacrosse Tournaments, Softball Tournaments, and Cross Country Championships. We also have baseball tournaments and football tournaments in our community that bring in millions of dollars to our town each year. When visitors come to Kernersville they buy gas, stay at our hotels, purchase necessities and groceries. They love visiting our downtown and purchasing from our merchants.
As you can see, the Kernersville economy is constantly moving and adapting in an effort to bring to fruition the goals of the Kernersville 2020 plan. As time passes, we will continue to benefit from the implementation of the plan and see our town grow stronger.