The Latest From Rogers Road

Hi all.

Molly De Marco asked for an update on the Jackson Center's outreach and partnership work in the Rogers Road neighborhood. Here you go.

In the Jackson Center's and RENA's work in the Rogers Road neighborhood, we are often greeted by a community member who says "Minister Campbell and David: thank you so much for keeping on. Sorry we were not able to come to the last hearing, but know we support and trust you and will try the next time."

We have been inspired daily by RENA's vision for building community, a vision with compassionate action as the basis for justice across all preconceived notions of difference (racial, socioeconomic, language, geography, etc). This vision is manifested in the annual "Back to School Bash", when hundreds of bags of school supplies are distributed during a cookout celebration for children of lifetime neighbors and recently settled refugees. It comes alive in our survey conversations, when dozens of families share deep roots of 200 years of history. Needless to say, we have been lucky to collaborate with RENA and to meet neighbors from all across Rogers Road who have welcomed us into their homes and into the many community forums.

Here's an update of what we have been up to:

  • RENA and the Jackson Center have been engaging residents and owners of the 86 historic parcels in the neighborhood for demographic data, up-to-date water and sewer information, OWASA permissions, and conversations about programming and involvement in the community center. We have had door-to-door conversations, completed extensive surveys, or made multiple attempts to the residents and owners of all of the parcels, many lasting well more than an hour.
  • We have continued our in-depth partnership with RENA, an incredible partner and leader for this work. We have worked together on communication strategies, including development of a neighborhood database, community newspaper, ongoing community meetings, and the continued formation of the community unity board (which RENA envisioned and has spearheaded).
  • From findings from the demographic survey, we are now confident that the area will meet the income eligibility threshold (51% below 80% of the area median income) for big and little Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. RENA and the Jackson Center have begun to have conversations and community forums for education, input, and engagement about the Town of Chapel Hill's option to extend its ETJ into the neighborhood. At a recent forum, dozens of residents, seasoned from 40 years of this work, showed up and engaged in insightful conversation and community planning.
  • OWASA's contract to begin the preliminary engineering needed to run sewer lines into the neighborhood was delayed over a month, so the Jackson Center plans to continue our work through mid-October to provide more outreach and connections as the preliminary engineering survey gets started. We have assisted OWASA in getting permission from all the folks we have worked with thus far to help expedite their process. We have also hosted collaborative meetings with OWASA contractors and neighborhood leaders with construction expertise to make sure that the engineers involved in the work received extensive feedback and suggestions as they begin.

The Town of Chapel Hill can vote on the ETJ on October 15. After extensive discussion, RENA and neighbors from across Rogers Road hope to gain the support of the Town Council to move forward with the enactment of the ETJ for the purpose of contributing toward the cost of the sewer infrastructure, in accordance with the recommendations of the Historic Rogers Road Neighborhood Task Force. They would love to have your support Wednesday.

Hudson Vaughan is the director of the Marian Cheek Jackson Center for Saving and Making History.


I can't be there to vote for it, but would be surprised if ETJ extension wasn't supported by the Council on Wednesday.



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