By Anna-Claire Terry
A community forum was held on Monday at the Southside Center for the Arts to discuss progress and ideas for the Carver-Jeter Master Plan. A planning team held an all-day workshop to take ideas and answer questions from community members. A final presentation was given by Aaron Fortner, founder of the Canvas Planning Group. Fortner told audience members about work that has been done in the area already, including the road paintings and light pole decorations. Fortner said the purpose of the project is to generate a better sense of community, improve the business and commercial environment, and engage kids in the neighborhoods to have an entertaining and safe outlet for educational and extracurricular growth. “We have made great progress,” Fortner said. Ideas and plans mentioned include bicycle paths and round-a-bouts and improving housing authority developments in the Carver-Jeter area. “Right now, it feels like these house developments are a little disconnected form the neighborhoods around them, and we think we can make them a better extension of the Carver-Jeter neighborhoods,” Fortner said.
The main corridors of the area are Auburn Street, MLK Boulevard, the historic path along Avenue B and E, South Railroad Avenue and Carver. This outline is also referred to as the “artline,” a part of the project where art is being added to “celebrate” Opelika.
Ideas pitched at the forum included flags, parks, walkway paths, wall murals, landscape art and gardens, sculptures, lighting, trash can art, art at the base of utility poles, and free “libraries,” where children can take a book out of a box and return it after they read it. Also discussed was the possibility of musical performances and historical stories throughout the artline.