Local NAACP branch wants citizen input on Carver-Jeter Plan

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By Hannah Lester
hlester@opelikaobserver.com 

The Carver-Jeter Revitalization Plan from the city of Opelika has been revamped. The plan has been in the works since 2014 when it was first created, but there has been no updates since — until March. 

“We want everyone in the Carver-Jeter areas to know that this plan has been updated,” said Billy Allen, president of the Lee County branch (5038) of the NAACP. “Two, we want to inform those residents that the NAACP branch 5038 need their feedback and their input to make sure that the plan is fully implemented.”

The updated plan lists each project and how it currently stands — whether it is still necessary or what needs to be done to see it to completion. 

Some of the projects that have been completed include creating street art designs and concepts, the establishment of a new bike shop, forming a bike route from Pepperell Village to Opelika High School, forming a community garden, implementing a new location for the Opelika Library in the Carver-Jeter area and the installation of a traffic circle at MLK and Auburn.

Branch 5038 wants to make sure that the full plan is completed, Allen said, but wants to prioritize based on what citizens want to see done. And the branch plans to give a report to the city of Opelika with what those priorities should be, he said. 

“We’re asking [residents] to tell us, what is this life that you’re living today,” said Parker Hamilton, chairperson of ad-hoc committee for Carver-Jeter Plan. “What is this community you’re living in? Do you walk into potholes? Do you have proper lighting? What’s the infrastructure?”

Other projects listed in the plan include forming a task force to plan the historic Darden High School trail, forming a task force to determine a list of historical figures, forming a task force to spur re-investment into single family homes in the community, analyzing emergency responses cause by mobile home parks, forming a task force to establish new community business incubators and more. 

“When they say ‘Beautiful Opelika,’ we want that reflected here also [in Ward 1 and 2],” said one of the committee members, Oscar Penn. 

Wards 1 and 2 consist of predominately African-American residents.

The full plan, and the update, can be found here: https://www.opelika-al.gov/154/Carver-Jeter-Revitalization-Plan

“The Carver-Jeter plan needs to take precedence over any other plan that the city may have,” Allen said. “We understand they may have a city-wide plan but we feel that the Carver-Jeter plan should be completed before they start their city-wide plan.”

However, Allen said that Branch 5038 will work with the city, and with council members, to formalize and implement the Carver-Jeter plan. 

“We’re here in unity so we can present all the sides and let you know our concern is what they people think, what they’re telling us,” said John Andrew Harris, another committee member, former Opelika City Council member and Lee County commissioner.

Branch 5038 has asked “to hear from those living in, working in, and taking part in activities in Wards 1 and 2 to express their concerns so that their input can be included in any future updates to the Carver-Jeter Plan and any city-wide plans from the City of Opelika itself,” said Herbert Walter Denmark, Jr., the public relations coordinator for Branch 5038. 

To do so, email carverjeterplan.naacp@gmail.com or call or text Hamilton at 240-401-9243. 

“We feel if this plan is fully implemented, we feel that Opelika can be a model city for the state of Alabama and we feel that it can be the best city in terms of including all neighborhoods into the city and making sure that they get their fair share,” Allen said. 

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