The Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood is a historically African-American community, with origins dating back to the 1700s. By the late nineteenth century, the Rogers-Eubanks neighborhood was composed of black-owned family farms and sawmills from Homestead to Eubanks Roads to the north of Carrboro and Chapel Hill, NC.
This was still the case in the mid-twentieth century when RENA Executive Director, David Caldwell grew up in the neighborhood.
It was beautiful land.
The woods were untouched, the streams were full of fish, and there were all types of birds and wildlife. We would go outside and play almost everyday after-school
All of this changed in 1972 when the Chapel Hill Board of Commissioners chose this area to host to the Orange County Regional Landfill. The mayor and town officials promised recreational facilities and increased infrastructure in return for residents allowing the landfill in the neighborhood. These promises were never actualized. In fact in the early eighties, despite community protest, the landfill and waste programs were expanded. For nearly four decades, the neighborhood has been fighting to mediate the environmental and health effects of the landfill.
In 2007, this socially cohesive and culturally rich community of approximately 85 households founded a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization — the Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association (RENA). This formalized a long term ad hoc community alliance and movement.
As a community-organizing group, RENA needed a place to gather, share, and celebrate community resources and develop programs for the neighborhood. Community leaders dreamed of having a place for formal and informal gatherings.
This dream became a reality in the summer of 2010 the RENA Center opened its doors to the neighborhood.
Tireless in this effort to open and maintain the center are three committed and compassionate community leaders.
The RENA center offers many activity and workshop opportunities for youth, adults, and families.
The focus of these activities is to help improve basic academic and education opportunities, raise awareness about the environment, improve overall health, and offer a place to foster relationships in the community.
And in December 2014, the new Rogers Road Community Center opened at 101 Edgar Street just a short walk from the original community center down the street. Stop by and say hello.