Kennett was laid out as the Dunklin County seat in 1846, the first Missouri “Bootheel” county. Kennett developed as a trade and legal center as Dunklin County grew into a noted cotton, soybean and livestock farming area. By 1893, Kennett boasted newly-built brick shops on the south side of the courthouse square, four attractive churches and a $9,000 public school building. Today, the population of Kennett is more than 11,000 people.

The DREAM Initiative recognized the city’s commitment to re-establishing its core, and named Kennett as one of the first DREAM communities in 2006. The Initiative has already begun fostering development in Downtown Kennett, including:

  • Securing Missouri Department of Economic Development funding for a Downtown Kennett Coalition executive director and work plan
  • Using a local Chapter 353 incentive, and Missouri Housing Development Commission funding, to complete renovation of the Ely-Walker Shirt Factory building by Carlson-Gardner Inc., bringing 46 residential units into downtown
  • Developing and implementing streetscape plans to enhance the area surrounding the Sheryl Crow Aquatic Center
  • Obtained Home Repair Opportunity (HeRO) program funding for qualifying residential properties
  • Implementation of future Streetscape Phases

For more information about the Missouri DREAM Initiative activities in Kennett, please contact Mayor Roger Wheeler, Sr. at (573)888-9001.