The Rogers Road community center may be closed, but the neighborhood is still bustling with activity. About a month ago, Minister Campbell and David Caldwell (co-founders of the Rogers Road Eubanks Neighborhood Association, or RENA) organized a community-wide meeting at the local Faith Tabernacle Oasis of Love, to discuss the design of the new community center and the most important community programs and organizations that the center will house. Around thirty community members and partnering representatives attended the meeting, during which the group also discussed the community sewer renovation projects that Orange County is working on. The Daily Tar Heel, and my partner Daron and I also were given the opportunity to present at the meeting to inform and engage community members in the community history projects that we are working on. Filled with constructive dialogue and interesting stories from the deep community history, the meeting was an excellent example of the initiative and activism that has kept the Rogers Road community on its feet throughout its difficult history.
Even outside of the community, however, people are working for the improvement of Rogers Road. Two weeks ago, the Historic Rogers Road Neighborhood Task Force (made up of representatives from Chapel Hill, Carrboro, the Orange County Board of Commissioners, and RENA) met at the County Solid Waste Center to discuss the next steps in the sewer project and building of the community center. Although the conversation focused mostly on the logistics of funding for the projects, Minister Campbell and David Caldwell brought a personal side to the conversation, when reminding the board members about the basic hardships that the Rogers Road community has put up with for decades, with little or no help from local government. Now approaching a year since it was created, the Task Force remains steadfastly committed to the residents of Rogers Road through the removal of the landfill (scheduled for June 2013), the installment of a new sewer system for the community, and the building of a new and improved RENA Center (hopefully to be started by September 2013), all with the goal of creating a more sustainable, healthy, and engaged community in Rogers Road.
–Zack Kaplan, Bonner Intern