$209,000 Awarded to 9 Capital Projects


Nine Tourism Capital Grant applications were approved by the Johnston County Tourism Authority at the August 14 board meeting, for a total of $209,000 in funding for tourism related projects. 

As the county grows, the investment in tourism-related projects continues to be an important element of the strategic plan for the Tourism Authority. The board has made investments around the county an important part of our mission to make a notable difference in the quality of place for residents and visitors. Supporting projects in all areas of the county from Princeton to Wilson's Mills is important to the Authority, noting that projects which are county-wide have a great impact on some of the county's smaller communities.

For more than 32 years, the Tourism Authority has awarded grant funds to enhance the county’s historic, recreational, and cultural assets building up the tourism infrastructure in the county.  Without a variety of museums, recreational facilities, and cultural venues, visitors along I-95 and I-40 may just drive by without stopping to explore or visit. As recently reported, the 2018 Visitor Spending numbers were up 7.1% with visitors spending more than $701,000 a day in the county. #TourismIsEconomicDevelopment

To date, more than $1.8 million dollars of visitor-generated room tax has been reinvested in the county. Most residents are not aware of the how visitors to the county have supported projects like the Paul A. Johnston Auditorium or the Benson Dog Park to name just two.  For the complete list of capital grant recipients from 1987 to 2020 visit https://www.johnstoncountync.org/about/working-with-the-jcvb/grants-programs/jcvb-capital-grant-recipients/

The 2019-20 grant recipients and short descriptions of grant projects are as follows: (alpha order)


Ava Gardner Museum - $10,000
The Ava Gardner Museum is updating and streamlining archival practices to digitize the collecting and complete a finding aid for more than 10,000 items in the museum’s storage area.

Clayton Rugby Association – Wilson’s Mills Parks & Recreation - $35,000
This second request for funding will complete the rugby fields at the Wilson’s Mills Park, to be able to host additional state and international tournaments which generates hotel room nights in the county.

Historic Smithfield Foundation - $25,000
Funds will be used to restore and preserve the only known Freedmen's Schoolhouse in North Carolina.  The building is located at 308 N. Fourth Street, and was built in 1868-69 as a school for freed slaves and was used as a school for African Americans until 1912.

Johnston Community College – Paul A. Johnston Auditorium - $16,500
The renovation project for the auditorium includes a new fire curtain, and this additional request for grant funds will help pay for this much needed equipment, which completes the grant award limit of $50,000 for this project.

Johnston County Heritage Center - $10,000

The Johnston County Heritage Center is updating and streamlining archival practices to have every item in the museum stored in a specially treated box or folder that is used specifically for artifact preservation. 

Smithfield Parks & Recreation - $15,000

Grant funds will be used to construct a picnic shelter at the new Town Commons Boat Ramp in Downtown Smithfield, which will be used for events and families enjoying the Buffalo Creek Greenway.

Tobacco Farm Life Museum - $10,000

The Tobacco Farm Life Museum is hiring an archivist to work on the museum’s extensive collection and funds will help pay for this position and purchase conservation supplies.

Town of Kenly - $50,000

The old Kenly school is slated to be torn down and become a multi-purpose community building for meetings and parks and recreation activities.  The first phase funding is for demolition which will take place this September.

Town of Princeton - $37,500

This project is to renovate the Princeton Community Building as a part of Princeton's downtown gateway to encourage increased utilization as a small event center and public library; ultimately drawing more visitors to Princeton and Johnston County.