CARRBORO — The Board of Aldermen decided Tuesday to move forward with Orange County to help fund sewer service and a community center for the Historic Rogers Road Neighborhood.
The board voted to accept the recommendations from the Historic Rogers Road Neighborhood Task Force to install a $5.8 million sewer infrastructure for 86 parcels in the neighborhood.
The aldermen also agreed to provide up to $900,000, or 14 percent, of the project’s cost. That percentage is based on the original agreement between Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Hillsborough and Orange County when the county landfill was built in the Rogers Road neighborhood in 1972.
The cost share agreement would distribute the cost among the three towns and the county, with Chapel Hill funding 34 percent, Hillsborough 6 percent and Orange County 46 percent.
The board did not decide Tuesday how it will fund the project.
The Rogers Road Neighborhood Task Force was created in February to consider the provision of sewer service and creation of a community center. The group is composed of two Chapel Hill Town Council members, two Carrboro Aldermen, two Orange County commissioners, and two members of the Rogers Eubanks Neighborhood Association.
Earlier this month, the Board of Orange County of Commissioners resolved to build a new community center for the Rogers Road neighborhood, which would cost about $500,000 to the county.
The commissioners asked the towns to consider paying for supplies, permitting costs, connection costs and the first 12 months of utilities towards the project.
The Rev. Robert Campbell from the Roger-Eubanks Neighborhood Association asked the aldermen Tuesday to help fund the construction of a new community center.
The previous Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association Community Center was closed in August because of permit and building code violations.
“We’re asking you tonight to help us to help service our community,” Campbell said. “We have an opportunity to put a jewel back in a community that was closed down.”
Campbell said the services that the center provided – such as tutoring, mentoring and food banks – are no longer available to neighborhood children.
Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton said he was worried about new sewer lines increasing property values.
“If we are talking about spending millions of dollars to make improvements, is this really what residents in Rogers Road want?” Chilton asked. “I don’t want to be blamed later on if the character of the neighborhood ends up changed.”
But Campbell responded that the sewer infrastructure would allow existing residents to expand their homes.
“The sewer line will give us the opportunity to invest in our community and stay in our community,” he said.
While the board approved the task force’s recommendations, many unanswered questions remain.
For example, the estimated construction and installation costs for the sewer project does not include the cost to connect individual homes to the sewer system.
The task force estimated those costs to be about $20 per foot.
The board asked town staff to look into ways that those costs could be lessened for individual residents.