The Orange County landfill will close at the end of the month, but many of its neighbors say old promises they’ve been hearing for years from local governments remain unfulfilled.
The Rogers-Eubanks community in Chapel Hill, which has housed the landfill since 1972, has yet to receive some amenities residents were promised more than 40 years ago. While Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Orange County are working to extend a sewer line to the neighborhood, the area lacks utilities like water service.
Neighborhood resident David Caldwell, who has lived there his entire life, said although the landfill closure means some of Rogers Road’s issues will be resolved, there might still be other local communities in similar situations.
“I hope it will make (officials) remember other neighborhoods in the county that are like ours,” Caldwell said. “(The town should) just make sure that everybody is treated the same and gets the same benefits.”
Ila McMillan-Ervin, a neighborhood resident since 1974, said she lives in a good area despite the issues.
“We have a wonderful neighborhood, but we have had promises and promises of benefits we would get by having the landfill here,” she said. “But we haven’t gotten what they promised.”
McMillan-Ervin said she believes the town will eventually come through for Rogers Road.
“I am pretty sure in due time we will get something accomplished out here,” she said. “It just takes time.”
But she added she was concerned local governments would forget about the area once the landfill closes.
“Now that it is closing, we are afraid we aren’t going to get anything,” she said.
Robert Campbell said he has seen many changes in the area since he became a permanent resident of the neighborhood in 1973.
He said he was also concerned about local governments forgetting the neighborhood, but that Rogers Road’s unusual situation would likely keep focus on the area.
“These are changes that most neighborhoods don’t have to go through,” he said.
Like Caldwell, Campbell said he is concerned about other local neighborhoods that host landfills.
After the landfill’s closure, Orange County’s trash will be disposed of via a waste transfer station in Durham.
“When we are talking about finding a proper way to get rid of the trash, we aren’t just talking about the trash in Rogers Road,” he said. “We are concerned about how it will impact those communities that will be affected by our trash.”
While long-term solutions for the neighborhood have yet to be determined, McMillan-Ervin said she thinks the well-being of Rogers Road is up to those in office.
“We need people in office that are concerned about the community and other people, and just not their position,” she said.
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