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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Durham developments 

2829 and 2831 Chapel Hill Road, Durham, 27707, the addresses probably don't mean much to you. Maybe it would help if we told you that they back up to Rogers-Herr Middle School and are adjacent to Yates Baptist Church.

Full disclosure, one of the Clarion Content's editors owns a house in the area.

It is a three minute walk from Foster's Market and Guglhupf Bakery. It is south of Lakewood, not far from Rockwood, Forest Hills or Hope Valley. It is an area that is already home to several high density apartment complexes.

As of this week, it is an area that is no longer home to two more old houses, 2829 and 2831 Chapel Hill Road. Disorienting destruction. What one day previously had been two homes with history, their own unique legacies, stories, and character was now piles of lumber surrounded by dumpsters and bulldozers.

Only the doors

and columns had been preserved.

A big old tree, looked lost surrounded by an ocean of debris.

Did the neighbors know it was coming to this?

The Clarion Content did not know it was coming to this here. But we do know it is coming to this here situation, all over Durham, private property owners making decisions that writ small effect only them, and writ large effect their neighborhoods and our entire community.

We don't know what will be 2829 and 2831 Old Chapel Hill Road. We do know what is gone, two big old houses that we never took a picture of while they were just fine. Even Google Maps does not have a street view of these properties; consigned to memory only.

Read an interesting mediation on endless growth here.

See more pictures here.

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The property was purchased with the intent of expanding church parking.

Thanks so much for the heads up. Sad to see those houses go away. The church has always been a good neighbor though. Hope you are able to preserve the big old trees on the property.


from the July 20th newsletter:
Cleared Property
I hope you have noticed that the property adjacent to the Yates fellowship hall
has now been cleared. The houses have been demolished and removed from the
property. Grass seed has been sown and straw laid on top. The decision the church
made to purchase the property was a sound one. It gives us much needed space to
improve and expand our ministries.
You’ll recall the primary catalyst for purchasing these properties was the need for more
parking. There is still a need for more and better parking, but the need has been diminished
some with the advent of the second worship service. Staggering these two Sunday morning
worship services has helped us have more parking spaces available for each of the services.
We will need to make a decision about what to do with this property at some future time,
but in the mean time we need to be good stewards of the property. Being good neighbors in our
community is an important witness for Jesus Christ. The House and Grounds Committee met last
night to make plans to clear the property of unsightly and overgrown brush. This fall, when the
weather isn’t so hot, they will begin to plant shrubs to create a privacy line between our property
and our new next door neighbor. I can envision a beautiful space that reminds people of a park
where children can play, families can have picnics, and the congregation can enjoy on days like
Homecoming. It will require some money to accomplish this. It’s not something we can likely do
with a few volunteers toting chain saws and weed‐eaters. We will need some heavy machinery
and experienced landscape personnel to accomplish this. Once the House and Grounds
Committee creates a plan for converting this space into something we can be proud of, I want to
encourage the church to support their recommendation and approve the necessary funding to do
the work.
Allowing this space to remain and become even more overgrown with weeds, brush, and
volunteer trees will lure people to be engaged in all kinds of illegal activity. We don’t want to be
known in a neighborhood as the neighbor that has the most unkempt space on the street. Rather,
we should take this as an opportunity to be good neighbors prompting those who live on our
street to have a favorable impression of us. I hope they can say of us, “Their campus is beautiful
and their hearts are filled with love.” Let’s create a nice space for the sake of our witness and the
Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Don Gordon
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