By Alison James
Carver and Jeter communities took one step closer to a shiny new future with the unveiling of new plans at a Monday meeting at Greater Peace Baptist Church.
The plans come after months of brainstorming and surveying the community, led by community members and the Atlanta-based firm, Market + Main.
M+M’s Aaron Fortner explained much of the vision that is developing for these communities and the downtown Opelika area – featuring everything from street art and bike paths to townhomes, new retail options, a splash pad, traffic circles and a parking deck.
“Some of the ideas that we’re going to put forward are big and bold and they’re going to take time and a lot of effort,” said Fortner. “That’s OK. You need that. We don’t want to have a vision of the future that can all be done in the next 12 months – that’s not a real bold vision for the future.”
Fortner said it would be important for the city and communities to embrace a mix of “big and bold” ideas and “low-hanging fruit” – changes that are simple and inexpensive. One of those “low-hanging fruit” ideas was street art – murals and crosswalk paintings that demonstrate culture and community pride. Another would be community flags to mark main thoroughfares and hang from front porches to promote culture and unity.
Meeting attendees were afforded an opportunity to view the plans and provide their feedback – both positive and negative – as M+M, community leaders and city officials head into the next stage of planning.