The Rogers Road Community Center hosted neighborhood residents and local government officials for a ribbon-cutting ceremony this week to celebrate the near-completion of a sewage line connection to the Historic Rogers Road area.
The location of the event was fitting. The community center, completed in 2014, was one of the first in a recent wave of basic services and amenities made available to the historically black community after decades of work and advocacy from the residents. The sewer line completion is another mark in that long line of work, including closing the landfill near the neighborhood in 2013 after more than 40 years.
“I’m not going to say overdue, but we are here at a new horizon,” Minister Robert Campbell said during the ceremony. “So I just wanted to thank everyone for all the support you’ve been giving to the Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association and this community.”
Campbell is the president of the neighborhood association and has helped lead the push on this project. At times during the ceremony, the minister sounded like he was speaking in front of a congregation on Sunday morning.
“It’s been a long road to travel, but we did not faint and we kept moving forward. And we moved forward as a snapshot of what Orange County, Chapel Hill and Carrboro look like. The diversity is what makes us who we are.”
Comments from Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle, Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger and County Commission Chair Penny Rich echoed the minister. All noted that though there is reason to celebrate, a lot of work is yet to be done.
David Caldwell, the neighborhood association project director, said the ceremony marked a victory, but only one small step on the way to the finish line. He praised the community engagement model used by local governments in this project and said other neighborhoods in nearby communities were looking to copy what had worked so well here.
After the ceremony, Lavelle spoke near the community center’s basketball court about some of the other services on the way for the area.
“For example you’ll see on the other side of the road our sidewalks are being completed, will be completed in the next month,” Lavelle said. “That’s some that the community really wanted. And additionally, in recent years, we’ve started having more transit routes come up this way.”
Carrboro Alderman Damon Seils praised the “community-first planning” model that is being used in Rogers Road by local officials, saying it put the emphasis on the needs of community members.
“And that’s really who we out to be listening to,” Seils said.