Keeping Carrboro Green

The News&Observer has a story today about the Carrboro Greenspace effort.

A group is trying to raise the down payment on $1.4 million it needs to save a green hillside near downtown from buildings, cars and pollution.

The Carrboro Greenspace Collective is trying to preserve about 10.5 acres off of Old Pittsboro Road, where the "Old Sparrow Pool," a community swimming spot, used to be....

The collective is giving tours of the property at 2 p.m. Sundays. Meet at 116 Old Pittsboro Road.

The community garden group works in the garden at the corner of Daffodil Lane and Old Pittsboro Road at 10:30 a.m. Saturdays.
- N&O: Group aims to buy plot, keep it green, 9/27/06

For more information, call Sammy Slade at 225-3433 or send e-mail to

These dedicated citizens are working very hard to preserve a wonderful part of our community. How can we help them raise the money to purchase the land? Any ideas people?



I think this space could turn out to be very valuable in decades to come. It could be Carrboro's Central Park.

it's also good that it would be managed by a public group that is non-governmental which gives them more freedom than than the Town has in how they might manage it.

As far as fundraising - I don't know. Get in line with all the other worthy nonprofits in Orange County? :) Seriously, I think bringing people to the property is good. It might help to put signs along Pittsboro Road so you can see how far it stretches there. Also maybe they should get with the Weaver Community Housing Association which knows about collectively owning land.

What's the down payment?

According to the article, $20,000. $5,000 has already been pledged by our favorite mayor. :-)

Hey Mayor Chilton, great pledge!

But as a real estate professional in another life, doesn't a $20,000 downpayment seem low to you on a purchase price of $1.4 million? It makes me think they're owner-financing, in which case the seller is probably sympathetic and would prefer to sell to the Greenspace Collective. That would be good news.

Even so, that's a lot of debt, and I'm sure they could use a more substantial downpayment. Also, is there any idea of how the collective would raise money to pay the note itself, let alone the downpayment? I think this is a great idea, but before I put down a chunk of cash on it (and, hell, I don't even live in Carrboro! But I _have_ watched outdoor 80s movies at that old house on the hill, and drunk their wine) I guess I'd like to hear more. Perhaps Sammy Slade could post some more information?

Or, maybe I should just call. I guess that's why Brian included contact information. OK, I'll just shut up now.

OK, duh, my question was Brian's original question. I'm not on a roll today.

I suppose the various ways that land gets preserved in the area -- TLC, conservation easements -- have been considered as sources of money?

Rich donor? Who do we know who's rich? That's a serious question, not flip.

I know that there are development (as in, fundraising) professionals who read who would probably have some good ideas.

For the purposes of the Triangle Land Conservancy, the property is both near (and in some case, adjacent to) open space the Conservancy has already preserved, and it's also in the general vicinity of the New Hope Creek Priority Area. That fulfills two of their criteria, and would make it somewhat attractive to their organization.

Someone told me the Carrboro Greenspace Collective has been in touch with the Triangle Land Conservancy. They said the TLC wasn't interested "because their isn't enough land". Not sure exactly why. But the concept of conserving the land this way could change its appraised value and make it easier in lots of ways. Plus having professional funded protection through out time could be cool. But vision and ideals have to match.

I think the folks at the Carrboro Greenspace Collective should become a 501(c)3 non-profit.

Hope everyone at the CCC don't mind all the suggestions. I for one am very impressed with their hard work and creative ideas. A wonderful way to build community trust IMHO.

I know the TLC has helped preserve similar sized properties in the past, but they _do_ say that they have a preference for properties 100-acres and greater. I suppose it's a balancing act: more-land-per-dollar vs. acquiring critical-but-smallish properties.

Again, rich people needed immediately.

Well what about using the co-operative model of the Weaver Community Housing Association?
They seem like they would be way more sympathetic to this than the TLC and they could even incorporate affordable housing on to the site.

maybe they could get carrboro parks project to raise money

Can any of you smart folks map this plot so it'd be easier to see where it actually is?

Thanks for covering this story!

There were a few misprints in the paper. Namely, that 20K was required for a down payment. As Duncan correctly pointed out, the actual figure is much higher. I do not know the specific price but I imagine that it is around 10% of the total cost of the property (keeping in mind that currently, the highest bid was in the 800,000K range).

The 20K was actually in reference to the amount of 'earnest money' we need to acutely generate to be recognized as legitimate potential buyers.

We are having a meeting tonight at 8 PM at 116 Old Pittsboro Road. The meetings generally last 60-75 minutes and all are welcome. *It would be great if anyone interested in structure or fundraising strategy could make it*

Won't a greenspace in that part of town mean that since it cannot be used for housing it will ultimately result in fewer people living close to downtown? Won't that mean that people will have to drive to get to both the greenspace and to downtown?

Won't it also mean that housing prices inside Carrboro will increase? Won't that also mean that the Mayor's real estate company will make more money? (Yes, I know it is owned by a non-profit, but they still make money from real estate.) Won't that continue the gentrification and de-weirding of Carrboro?

How does this greenspace jive with ?

The greenspace will do nothing but attract rich old yuppies to buy houses in Carrboro so they an play in dirt once a week. Greenspaces were never meant for small towns like Carrboro with plenty of greenspace already and plenty more a few miles outside of town. Greenspaces are meant for URBAN centers.

And enough with the "sustainability" catch phase. Sustainability is intended to be a means of configuring civilization and human activity so that society, its members and its economies are able to meet their needs and express their greatest potential in the present, while preserving biodiversity and natural ecosystems, and planning and acting for the ability to maintain these ideals in a very long term.

Just becasue you plant a garden does not mean you are promoting sustainability.

i went down there with a friend and had a good old time inthe woodstoday im not a yupie im trying to make ends meet and my friend is poorer than i am. i am pretty darn poor
he didnt have any way to get his bike tube fixed but chris gave us a bike tube this helps the poor people out and kidsand possible kids parents that dont have any way else to get there kids bikes,BIKES .ITS VERY IMPORTANT TOKP THIS PIECE OF LAND ORSOME PIECE OF LAND SO WE CAN GO GET HEALTHY IT HELPS TO WALK AND TO RIDE BIKES

Protecting the land around the Carrboro Greenspace will provide the community much more than a "play in dirt once a week". So far the space is the home of the ReCyclery, an outdoor theater, a public meeting place, homes to many people, a place for guests from out of town to stay, a safe place to express yourself, and so much more. With help it can achieve a lot for Carrboro.

The fact is Carrboro and Chapel Hill are only becoming more urban. Its forward thinking projects that can preserve MUCH more than a bunch of trees but a TRULY public space. Space owned by the community for everyone's good. Unfortunately the places we think are public really aren't.

I'm not against private property ownership. I just believe that we need other types of public spaces in ADDITION to private property.

Carrboro, Chapel Hill, urban? Have you ever lived in NYC, or Chicago, or Edinburough? How can you compare those cities to any kind of future of these towns?

Your priorites are screwed up. Where will people live inside of town so that they can use a bicycle they get from the ReCyclery? Isn't the pubilc good of cheap housing more pressing then a place where people can hang out and complain about the lack of housing? Section 8 housing in Orange county has over a 3 year waiting list. This public space is not a grassroots effort. It is an effort by a very small minority in the town who think they know what people need. And that is why it will not succede.

You talk of hegemony on your blog. Hegemony is the social, cultural, ideological, or economic influence exerted by a dominant group. Doesn't that sound like what you are doing?

FYI, private property is theft.

As it was explained to me, only 40% of this piece of land is developable for housing because of the water running through it and because of the slant of the land. There is going to be greenspace on 60% of the property regardless.
The question is whether it will be developed and the adjoining greenspace will belong to the people who live there who may then forbid others from so much as walking their dog on it.
Or whether it will be owned and administered by a nonprofit that is committed to making the space accessible to the community at large.
Which may not preclude developing workforce housing on it at a later date if the nonprofit chose.
There are already people living there and as I understand it that would continue with the residents working on the projects and events taking place on the property.

The property is a quick walk from downtown Carrboro and is surrounded by apartments and duplexes. It is also on the bus line. I could see adolescents in particular benefitting from the hiking, biking and learning taking place on the property.

If the group becomes a 501 non-profit I'd be seriously interested in donating...(not that I'm rich!) but I'd want to be certain that the land WAS preserved. I'd need to see some sort of land-trust formed.


The group is currently working on getting 501 C3 status, and for the time being it is being fiscally sponsored by SURGE, a local non-profit. So donations made to the Greenspace are tax deductible and are actually going to a non-profit!

As for the TLC, they said the acreage was too small, BUT I got the impression that if there was enough pressure/support for preserving this land, they might be able to make an exception.

Also as far as sustainability, I think one thing we need to have in the next few months is a public discussion/seminar on urban sustainability. There is an important discussion to be had on different models of urban sustainability, as increasingly research I have seen shows that urban sustainability requires combining density with open and green spaces (rather than divying greenspaces in private lawns). If someone wants to help organize this, that would be great!!


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