What began as a proposal in 2016 will finally break ground this May in Carrboro, an idea that has been years in the making: The 203 Project.
It began with a parking lot, one that residents have likely passed by multiple times without even giving it a second thought. The Town began exploring the lot at 203 S. Greensboro St. for potential development.
The vision for the space was transformative: it would be the new location for the Orange County Southern Branch Library.
The land's development aimed to bridge the gap between underserved community members and key resources, solving the issues of accessibility that is prevalent in the community.
From this goal, The 203 Project was born. The idea went from public engagement meetings to public hearings to presentation drafts and then making it in Town Council updates. It went through reintroductions, different design iterations and budget updates. A March 1 estimate predicted the project to cost approximately $41.2 million.
After review by the North Carolina Local Government Commission this month, construction will begin in May.
The location will house the Orange County Southern Branch Library, as well as the Carrboro Recreation, Parks and Cultural Resources Department, the Orange County Skills Development Center, WCOM Radio and the Virtual Justice Center.
This once-empty space will be an epicenter for community engagement.
It will be not just a library, but the area’s new hub for arts and culture, "a community oasis that nourishes the mind, body and soul," as detailed in the project’s vision statement.