Orange County Man Wins Humanitarian Award

Chapel Hill – An Orange County resident won a humanitarian award in a state-wide competition, for his volunteer work in the community.

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The Lamplighter Awards is an annual state-wide competition that recognizes volunteers for their community service. One of the awards is the John Hope Franklin Humanitarian Award.

When Minister Robert Campbell of Chapel Hill thinks of someone who should be awarded for shining his light upon others, he says one name comes to mind.

“I nominated Mr. David Caldwell simply because of the work that he had been doing in the community of the Rodgers-Eubanks Neighborhood,” says Campbell, “He’s just one of those lights that shine in the community.”

David Caldwell is the project director and community organizer for the Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association. He says he’s shocked that he beat the odds, and the other deserving contestants to win the honor.

“I think when it got to about 300 people I kind of said, ‘Okay, well that’s as far as I’m going,’” Caldwell says, “Looking at the competition that was out there, it was unbelievable what people were doing around the state.”

Campbell says he is not surprised that Caldwell won the competition. He says there is no better candidate than Caldwell.

“I looked at the definition for the award, and David is the example that Dr. Hope Franklin himself represented,” says Campbell.

Caldwell was presented with the award Saturday at the Carolina Theater in Durham. But he says the credit is due to all the folks who have helped him accomplish so much in Orange County.

“This is a pat on the back for everybody that’s been apart of RENA, and the hundreds of collaborations that we’ve made over the years,” says Caldwell.

Caldwell has plans to continue his work in the community, and he says he hopes you will join him.

“There’s a lot of work to be done,” says Caldwell, “You might not be able to do what you want to, but please do what you can.”

For more information about the Rogers-Eubank’s Neighborhood Association click here.

Aldermen Again Turn Attention To Future Of Rogers Road

CARRBORO – With the Rogers Road Task Force set to resume meeting, the Carrboro Board of Aldermen discussed their recommendations for the future of the area, including a section called Greene Tract.

Here’s Aldermen Sammy Slade

“The fact that this is a jointly owned public property represents an opportunity for us to really find creative ways to encourage affordable housing on those spaces, to provide green space for folks who already live there, and expand more affordable housing in an area in both of our town where things are getting really expensive and a lot of people can’t afford to be here,” says Slade.

The Greene Tract is adjacent to the Rogers Road Study area and the Town of Chapel Hill city limits. The 2006-2009 Rogers Road Small Area Plan Draft called for 86 acres of open space in the area, with 18 acres also earmarked for affordable housing.

Slade says the affordable housing aspect is an important one for the continued development of both the Rogers Road community and the town of Carrboro.

“It’s one way in which to guarantee that we have and maintain a diverse community,” says Slade. “Carrboro used to be the other side of the tracks and in a way; we have been a victim of our own success. Prices have pushed people out and we’ve essentially become gentrified, so we have to be very proactive in ensuring that it doesn’t get worse and that we try to maintain that diversity.”

Slade says localized commercial development is another potential option for the area.

Rogers Road is a historically African-American neighborhood located north of downtown Carrboro and Chapel Hill. The area has long not only been neglected but also the source of broken promises from local government.

The Orange County Landfill has been located near Rogers Road since 1972. The Board of Aldermen also passed a resolution Tuesday night allowing Town Manager David Andrews to negotiate with either Waste Industries or the City of Durham to send their trash across county lines.

The Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted last month to extend the Historic Rogers Road Neighborhood Task Force an additional six months with the condition that they report to the commissioners on or before September 17 of this year. Slade and fellow Aldermen Michelle Johnson serve on the committee as representatives of the Town of Carrboro.

Other plans for the area could involve a Chapel Hill-Carrboro City school. But Slade says a new school may not be the best use of the land.

“One of the challenges when we talk about a public school is that public schools are not so far from there,” says Slade. “There’s this question of using public property to build another public school or taking the opportunity to use that property to build affordable housing.”

The school would be in addition to two proposed community centers serving the area–one a public center jointly financed by local governments and one owned by St. Paul A.M.E Church which plans to relocate to the neighborhood in the near future.