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BRIGHTWALK at HISTORIC DOUBLE OAKS

The historic Double Oaks neighborhood used to be home to a 60 acre, isolated public housing project that started in the 1950s. Its unfortunate evolution into a crime and drug-ridden area left residents living in fear. The former neighborhood manager was Fred Alexander, Charlotte’s first African American city council representative in 1965 and later a North Carolina State Senator. In 2010, the area was leveled and redevelopment began. The vision for Brightwalk was to create an active, healthy, and connected neighborhood with a rich mix of homes and amenities. The Brightwalk site totals 98 acres and is lined by impressive willow oak trees, park and recreational amenities including Anita Stroud Park, the future Double Oaks Park. When complete, there will be roughly 760 units, including apartments, townhomes and single-family homes. Extensive walking, running, and cycling trails that in time will be linked to the Irwin Creek Greenway and Carolina Thread Trail, and pocket parks are also planned for the neighborhood.


DRUID HILLS

Druid Hills was initially established in the early 1900’s when the Ford factory was built along the Statesville Avenue corridor. The neighborhood expanded in the post-World War II era when returning war veterans and their families needed housing. After the manufacturing industry moved from the area, there was a decline in homeowners. During ‘white flight’, homeowners moved to the suburbs, rented out their homes or sold their homes to individuals previously unable to purchase in Druid Hills because of redlining. During this transition of homeownership, many new owners were prominent residents within the City of Charlotte, Therease Elder, and Hattie Leeper to name a few. Druid Hills was home to the first African American Social Worker. It was a tight-knit community. However, during the early 1990’s, the drug epidemic had a profound impact on the neighborhood. As a result of the high number of rentals, property neglect, and depressed property values, crime and drug usage became rampant, peaking in the late 1990s. In an effort to stabilize the neighborhood, Habitat for Humanity and The Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership redeveloped some homes to provide homeownership opportunities and help to stabilize the neighborhood.The neighborhood today is a mix of modest single family homes, a senior living complex, several scattered duplexes and apartments, and Moore Place, a permanent housing complex for individuals previously experiencing homelessness. Druid Hills is home to the only urban horse stable in the City of Charlotte. It has a neighborhood park which is inclusive of a community garden, ample space for picnics, a playground and outdoor fitness equipment. The Druid Hills neighborhood association has partnered with UNCC students from the geology department to collect oral history for the neighborhood and publish the results. The neighborhood of Druid Hills is rapidly changing again as individuals from various socio-economic levels realize the hidden gem of Druid Hills. It is less than 2 miles from Center City Charlotte, easily accessible by car and public transportation and has stunning views of the Charlotte skyline.


GENESIS PARK

Genesis Park developed as Greenville grew in the 1940s-70s. First considered part of the Double Oaks Neighborhood, it began in 1949 as an African-American neighborhood, developed by Ervin Construction company in post-World War II Charlotte. Unlike many developers of the era, Charles Ervin built equal quality homes for blacks and whites in Charlotte. By the 1970s, this once-booming neighborhood declined. In the 1980s and 1990s, it was revived and renamed Genesis Park, which included the formation of a non-profit group to renovate and build new homes and rid the historic area of some of the violence and crime that had come into the community during its decline. Due to the proximity to the public housing of Double Oaks which at one time was linked to high crime rates, barriers had been placed along the edge of Anita Stroud Park to deter criminals from entering Genesis Park. Today, Genesis Park is a safer, strong neighborhood with a great sense of community pride. Anita Stroud Park has seen investment from residents through Neighborhood Matching Grants, McColl Center-supported artists, and projects such as No Barriers which worked at breaking down physical and psychological barriers and building community between Brightwalk and Genesis Park.


GRAHAM HEIGHTS/TRYON HILLS

Graham Heights/Tryon Hills was an area developed for workforce housing supporting industrial sector employees. A large portion of the land (approximately 10 blocks) was developed as the Tryon Hills Apartments – marginal quality, affordable, single story, multi-unit buildings. In 2008 the land was sold and as tenants’ leases expired, the buildings started to come down. The last of the buildings were demolished by 2014. Tryon Hills Elementary School has been converted into a charter school for K-5 students focused on a health and wellness curriculum. The former Tryon Hills Apartments’ site remains vacant but is envisioned as a mixed-use area providing residences, offices, and retail. The rest of Graham Heights has remained stable. They have an active community organization and offer a monthly neighborhood walk.


JT Williams

The JT Williams neighborhood is the northernmost neighborhood of the North End Community Coalition. It is named after the John Taylor Williams renowned a teacher, a physician and a diplomat as well as a highly respected businessman. He was president of the Queen City Drug Store Company, one of the first black owned and operated drug stores in North Carolina. In 1898, he was appointed as US Consul to Sierra Leone.The JT Williams neighborhood is currently home to the only public Montessori high school in Charlotte. The area of JT Williams is comprised of single family homes, churches, and apartments.


Lockwood (originally Lockewood)

was a planned neighborhood envisioned as a streetcar neighborhood with both high-end and workforce housing for World War I veterans. It has an organized grid pattern but is smaller than originally planned due to the onset of the Great Depression. Adjacent land instead developed as industry to support World War II manufacturing. Sylvania Avenue (the central street of the neighborhood) was originally settled by business owners and managers while the two periphery streets housed employees working in the area whether at the railroad, mills, or the Ford Assembly Plant. In the 1960s, with economic and housing downward trend in the area, many of the houses turned into low-cost rentals. Today, Lockwood is a diverse, mixed-income community with an active neighborhood association led by both renters and homeowners, beautiful homes and neighbors striving to create a safe and quality community. Lockwood is near full built out with very few vacant parcels. The three streets running through the length of the neighborhood are lined with large mature oaks and sidewalks are setback from the street creating a comfortable pedestrian environment. Most homes are more than 50 years old and is one of the most historically intact neighborhoods. Neighborhood matching grants have gone to tree banding to protect the historic street trees. Duke Energy is partnering with the neighborhood to install LED street lights. Annually the AvidXchange NC Rock and Run 5k goes through the neighborhood.


PARK AT OAKLAWN

The Park at Oaklawn is a vibrant community of diverse residents. The neighborhood is inclusive of 71 single family homes (built by well-known Charlotte area Builder – Saussy Burbank), a senior housing complex, the Anita Stroud Senior Apartment and affordable garden style apartments and townhomes. The site where The Park at Oaklawn sits was a former public housing development known as Fairview Homes. This old development was razed in the late 1990’s and The Park at Oaklawn was created in its place. The neighborhood also includes a Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation facility, the Ivory Baker Recreation Center. The center is a hub of activity for the residents of The Park at Oaklawn and residents from throughout the Charlotte region. On any given day, you can visit the recreation center and find children and adults learning a new craft, playing sports, utilizing the computer labs, or engaged in a community meeting. The Park at Oaklawn is a hidden gem located less than 2 miles from Uptown Charlotte. It is within easy distance from the highways yet far enough away to be secluded from the traffic. During the summer months, you will find residents sitting on their front porches listening to the music from The AvidXchange Music Factory or just gazing at the picturesque city skyline, which can be seen from almost every home in the neighborhood.

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