Mural in Downtown Kinston dedicated to woman who helped beautify the area

KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) -If you’ve walked around downtown Kinston lately you may have noticed a new garden and mural.

Tuesday, Downtown Kinston Revitalization hosted a dedication for them.

A mural filled with butterflies, flowers, and bunnies decorates a wall at the corner of Mitchell and West North Street across from Pearson Park.

The painting and garden nearby are dedicated to Shirley Herring who had a lot of love for Kinston. She used that love to find ways to beautify the community.

Frances Taeodorakis was on the design committee for this project and has known Herring for 40 years.

“She loved flowers, she loved gardening, she loved history. She really left her footprint on this town when she passed away several years ago,” says Taeodorakis.

This project started just before the pandemic and it didn’t get started until three years ago. During that process, they raised more than $18,000 to use on the memorial garden.

“We also had a lot donated like the pergolas were built by Boy Scout troops. The sculpture was donated and other things were discounted because people loved Ms. Herring or they wanted to just help out,” says Leon Steele who is the Director of Downtown Kinston Revitalization.

Herring’s daughter Becky Mitchell says she’s grateful the community came together to celebrate her mother’s hard work.

“It was amazing, it is very touching. People have come from around the state and out of state to pay tribute to my mom. So it’s a little overwhelming, I got a little emotional, but we miss her. People in the community still miss her because she really touched a lot of people here. It just goes to show that one person can make a difference,” says Mitchell.

Herring is credited with the hanging baskets along Heritage Street and other pots of flowers and paintings downtown, so this continues her legacy of making the community beautiful.

Shirley Herring passed away in 2018. This garden will allow her memory to live on.