Latinos on way to majority
Regarding the news story “Diaminah resigns Durham school board seat, urges Latino replacement:” (DN, Aug. 31)”
Latinos are the second-largest group of students in Durham public schools, but they will not be for long – they will soon be in the majority.
Sendolo Diaminah can see that trend in demographics and is urging his colleagues to cast ahead to the future to provide a voice for these kids and their community.
Ultimately, you reap what you sow.
Mission has been good neighbor
The recent debate regarding the Golden Belt Local Historic District and the Durham Rescue Mission’s plans tends to miss some key points.
First, the mission supports the district and has property west of Alston Avenue that will be a part of the district. The mission’s focus is with their properties east of Alston Avenue, which they have strategic plans to develop into a community center/gym to serve the mission and East Durham and to build new affordable housing via their other properties. Fifteen of the 20 properties the mission owns are actually empty lots.
Second, the mission has been a part of the neighborhood for over 42 years – longer than almost anyone else – and has, with the support of others, played a major role in stabilizing the neighborhood so that we could have such a debate and people could feel good about buying property again in East Durham.
Third, the mission has been working with Preservation Durham for years discussing their plans for this property, engaging their various executive directors to help find ways to work together. An excellent example of this collaboration with PD and the neighborhood are the building of the Center for Hope and the three new dormitories on their property.
We can enjoy both – a new Golden Belt Local Historic District and a vibrant and caring Durham Rescue Mission – if we’ll just make up our minds to work together.
City should honor mission’s request
The Durham Rescue Mission was in operation in Edgemont providing their life-saving services, free, to the indigent and homeless population regardless of race, creed, color and gender when downtown and Edgemont was still a somewhat functioning commercial area; long before a Golden Belt district was even a thought – just a mill building.
The Edgemont area, including the commercial district, has over the years, decades, gradually lost buildings, including housing, to demolition by normal decay, condemnation/“official directive,” general apathy and ignorance of the historic value to Durham. In short, the original character of Edgemont has been gone for decades. What’s left is in no respect indicative of what it once was.
But Edgemont still exists and in some few instances, has assumed new roles for the community and Durham.
The Durham Rescue Mission is one of these few and is doing so by preserving an important church building and developing its property in a sensitive, responsible way in order to continue its important mission for/to the community and Durham.
The mission’s request to be exempted from this “assumed” historic district should be honored in same manner as other areas of historic districts have been granted their requests.
Their extraordinary efforts to “fit in” are proof of their aim to be a welcome part of this community.
A worthy exception
Recently an article appeared in The Durham News stating that the N.C. Department of Transportation (DOT) planned to begin construction on widening one mile of Alston Avenue in Durham to four lanes plus a median between N.C. 147 and N.C. 98 this past week. This long planned and hotly negotiated thoroughfare between Main and Holloway streets will separate the two neighborhoods on each side of Alston.
I have been volunteering at the Durham Rescue Mission (DRM) to assist them with fundraising since 2000, shortly after retiring from the Durham County Hospital Corp. (Durham Regional Hospital & Lincoln Community Health Center) where I was the director of development for 20-plus years. As a result I have witnessed the excellent success rate their rehab program has achieved in returning their graduates to being contributing citizens.
As a Durham native, my grandfather and an uncle worked at the Golden Belt plant, so I totally support the establishment of the Golden Belt Historic District with the exception of the portion separated by Alston Avenue from the Golden Belt. DRM has occupied the land across Alston since 1974. DRM plans to construct a community center to be used for their four annual function for the community, like the Back-to-School event your newspaper covered last week, and other community activities as well as for affordable housing. This would not be possible in a historic district.
DRM owns all but four occupied houses on the side of Alston across from the Golden Belt neighborhood. I have no issue with those four homeowners if they wish to remain in the district.
Help solar our middle school
Central Park School For Children has the opportunity to become the only school we know of in the world to have grid tied and an off the grid system. We received a $20,000 grant from NC Green Power and the State Employee’s Credit Union to put solar panels on the roof of our middle school!
The great thing about this project is it won’t just provide electricity for our school, but will feed clean energy into the grid all around downtown Durham. We need to raise $13,500 in matching funds to make it happen. Through the CPSC Solar Collaborative, businesses in downtown Durham will have the opportunity to participate in sponsoring this project. You can be a part of this project too! You can contribute by visiting our fundraising site at NC Green Power: http://nando.com/40t
To make a donation via check, please make payable to “NC GreenPower” and be sure to note CPSC in the “memo” section of the check. Mail to: NC GreenPower, Attn: Jenna DeRosse, 909 Capability Drive Suite 2100, Raleigh, NC 27606.
NC GreenPower is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization using contributions to encourage the local generation of renewable energy and carbon offsets. Donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Launched in 2003, they now have a pilot program to install small solar PV arrays at selected K-12 schools to enhance education.
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