It took the Rogers Road neighborhood almost 40 years to open a community center — and only eight hours to empty it.
On Tuesday, David Caldwell loaded up the last of the chairs, folded tables and signs that filled the small one-story community house into his truck and closed the door on the last two years.
Basketball goals were moved to storage, pictures were taken off the walls and books were packed away — indefinitely.
The community center — located in a 70-year-old house off Purefoy Drive — was shut down Aug. 11 for violating fire and safety codes.
According to a memo from Chapel Hill Town Manager Roger Stancil, the Rogers-Eubank Neighborhood Association didn’t apply for a permit to use the house as a community center when they opened it two years ago. The house also didn’t have necessary emergency exits, smoke detectors and an evacuation plan.
Rev. Robert Campbell, president of RENA, said they intended to use the house as a community center for five years until they could open a permanent center.
But as local governments struggle to reach a decision on how they will support the historically black and low-income community that has housed the county’s landfill since 1972, residents of Rogers Road grow tired of waiting.
A heated meeting
In 1972, Campbell said the Orange County Board of Commissioners made a deal with the residents of Rogers Road — if the neighborhood housed the landfill for 10 years, they promised them services like sidewalks and a recreation center.