Published: Aug 18, 2012 07:00 PM
Modified: Aug 17, 2012 06:43 PM
The Rogers Road neighborhood has the misfortune of being located right where Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Orange County meet.
All too often, that means it falls through the cracks. The latest casualty is the Rogers Eubanks Neighborhood Association’s community center. The center provides afterschool and summer programs, tutoring, literacy classes and other services to residents of the historically black, low-income neighborhood.
Or at least, it did until last weekend. After inspectors determined that the rented house the center uses did not meet required codes, community center officials had to close it down indefinitely.
Rules are rules, of course. But what’s disappointing is how grudging the local governments seem to be, at least thus far, about helping the community center re-open permanently to serve the public.
A plan is afoot to move the historic Hogan-Rogers House to a nearby site and turn it into a new community center. That would accomplish the twin goods of preserving a historic structure and giving the community center a home.
Problem is, it’ll cost $600,000 to move the house, plus who knows how much to equip it and operate it. RENA has asked the governments to help pay for that.
There’s been some talk, but aside from Orange County, which has set aside $120,000, nobody has committed to pony up.
Rogers Road is used to that. The governments have talked for umpteen years about compensating the neighborhood for the burden of living besides the landfill, but so far most of that talk is just talk.
Carrboro Alderwoman Michelle Johnson called on the three governments to step up: “I think saying we care but not doing anythng about that, I think that’s not walking your talk.”
The Rogers Road neighborhood has always been poor in resources, but extraordinarily rich in its spirit of community, in its respect for its past, and in its willingness to work for the good of all, in the way its residents look out for each other.
This is what a community looks like. They deserve, finally, to have the rest of us walk our talk.
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