Carrboro’s parks are inequitably distributed

Two of the top goals in Carrboro’s Comprehensive Plan for 2022 → 2042 are: “Ensure all people in Carrboro have safe, equitable, and connected access to parks, open space, and recreational facilities” and “Promote policies to ensure distribution of environmental burdens and access to natural areas and ecosystems to be equitable across race, income, and ability”. The words “equity” and “equitable” appear 194 times over its 231 pages, and the notion of “walkability” is a central theme throughout the plan. But while discussing the fate of our green space the Council has not yet given any weight to the notions of environmental social justice and class equity for our diverse Fidelity-Davie neighborhood.

None of Carrboro’s 4 parks are on our “condos & apartments side” of Main:  
Anderson = 55 acres
Wilson + Adams 8.5 + 27.3 = 36 acres
MLK = 10.2 acres
Baldwin = 2.5 acres
Our 5.5 acre Fidelity open green space is made up of a 2.9 acre meadow and 2.6 acres of woods. The existing 3.2 acre Davie graveyard will soon contain over 2200 graves. The map for the Fidelity & Davie area is below.

The single family homes surrounding MLK Park were already benefiting from the nearby 300 acre western part of the Carolina North Forest before the land for that park was acquired. MLK Park has a fancy playground, a pumptrack, heated restrooms with mirrors, 2 picnic pavilions with 2 braziers apiece, a jogging trail with exercise stations, a mini-amphitheater, 9 benches, 18 garbage cans, and a community garden! But we are prohibited in our open space by Town law from picnicking, jogging, throwing a frisbee, or even walking a dog!

Folks living in condos and apartments, who lack the financial means and/or the energy needed to maintain single family homes, have an especially strong need for parks and open spaces. As our block continues to be built up, we are at an increasing risk of adverse health effects as the existing Urban Heat Island stretching from the gym and Town Hall to 400 Davie intensifies:  A few years ago the solidly paved Inara Court (which has next to no greenery) was built where a cooling grove of mature trees had stood for decades. The one-story Pinewood brick apartments at 106 Fidelity (which still has 15 huge pine trees) were recently sold to a developer, who will probably remove all of the trees and build a comparably paved-over set of multi-family dwellings.

Some councilors are unwilling to spend the relatively small amount of funds needed to buy land out Jones Ferry. Carrboro’s 55 acre Anderson Park is out on NC 54 past Carrboro plaza; it is a walkable distance from only a handful of Carrboro homes. If the Council does not want to spend money to buy a new graveyard outside of town limits, then they could instead use less than 5% from some corner of that nearly out-of-town park. That would provide as many graves as using up our meadow. From our perspective, it sounds like the Council is telling us that we humans along Fidelity & Davie are not as important as the dogs that run around in the Anderson dog park! These are owned by people who are doing well enough time and money-wise to both own a dog and a car (not true for many of us) so that they can drive out there.

A member of the Town Council and their spouse, who is on the Planning Commission, are the two strongest advocates for expanding the Davie graveyard into our meadow. They live across the street from Wilson Park.

WP3 Comprehensive Plan continues Why Park?

Town-owned 8.73 acres at Fidelity & Davie: The rectangle containing the graveyard and the woods to the south of it is 3.2 acres. The rest of the woods are 2.6 acres, after one deducts a southeastern nook (not yet shown) that the Town does not own. The meadow is 2.9 acres, including the trees along Fidelity on its northern edge.

WP1 Why Park was previous page