By Jay Jones
NCCU Staff Writer
the Durham VOICE
Tuesday night at the Angier Avenue Baptist Church, Durham residents and local business owners gathered to get updated on the latest developments on the revitalization project planned for the intersection of Angier Avenue and Driver Street.
Plans have been in the works for four years under the eye of Chris Dickey from the Office of Economic and Workforce Development for the City of Durham.
“We looked at where we could make the biggest impact and partner with existing business owners, and that lead us to Angier and Driver Street. This was the area that we needed to come and show folks in Northeast Central Durham the significance of having business development activity along this corridor,” said Dickey.
The City of Durham has allocated $3.5 million for this project. $425,000 is going to the consulting firm E.G. & G. to help plan and map out the revitalization. Throughout prior meetings in the community, E.G. &G. developed drawings and other conceptual plans for the Angier/Driver intersection based off the feedback they received from people in attendance.
“The benefits to this project are to establish a stronger and more positive district image, retain and attract businesses and investments, support property values and address infrastructure needs of the area,” said Rod Garrison, E.G. & G. consultant.
“The community and the people deserve more from the city, and the city is stepping up to the plate and doing what it needs to do.”
Samuel Jenkins, owner of the well-known barber shop on Angier Avenue, said, “It’s only right that you beautify the inner-city and make it more pleasing to say, ‘Welcome to Durham.’ I’m more excited for the people that have been through the struggle. We look forward to bringing life back on Angier Avenue,”
The finalization of the design and engineering plans started in July of this year and will be completed by September 2011. The bidding process for construction companies will start September of 2011 and end December 2011, with the contract being awarded January 2012. Construction is slated to begin February 2012 and the entire project is slated to be complete November 2012.
“It’s going to be phenomenal, I think it’s going bring some vitality into the community and create jobs,” said Joe Bushfan, owner of Trosa Grocery and Joe’s Diner.
Plans include new sidewalks, Angier and Driver Street’s being repaved, crosswalks as well as ramps for the disabled. In addition there will be new curbs, street lights, driveways and the consolidation of overhead utility wires on higher poles and moved onto one side of the street.
“I think it’s a great thing for the community, I want to see the image come back to what it was in East Durham,” said Pastor Clarence Parrish of Angier Baptist Church.
The residents and business owners in attendance seemed to be extremely anxious for this project to get underway, as they can’t wait to reestablish their community as a vibrant part of Durham.