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A skyline that sprouts new buildings at a dizzying pace. Neighborhoods dotted with new breweries and renovated mills. Thousands of new apartments springing up beside light rail lines. The signs of Charlotte’s booming prosperity are everywhere. But that prosperity isn’t spread evenly. And from Charlotte’s “corridors of opportunity,” it can seem a long way off, more like a distant promise than the city’s reality.

Habitat for Humanity's Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project returns to Charlotte

A group of women helps to build a home at Meadows at Plato Price in west Charlotte.
Elvis Menayese
A group of women helps to build a home at Meadows at Plato Price in west Charlotte.

A large Habitat for Humanity community build started by former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalyn returns to Charlotte after a long absence. The project will build 27 affordable homes in the West Boulevard corridor.

The Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project will start next week. It’s the first Carter Work Project anywhere since 2019 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Laura Belcher, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of the Charlotte Region, says hundreds of people have stepped forward to help.

“It’s really a stunning amount of activity going on and the way that people have raised their hands to participate,” Belcher said. “So, we'll have over 700 construction volunteers a day and over 100 hospitality volunteers to make sure the construction volunteers get to where they need to be and are fed.”

The project plans to build 27 homes. Twenty-three will be built at the site where a segregated school, Plato Price, once stood. The school closed in the 1960s when desegregation took hold. The new housing community is called The Meadows at Plato Price.

Another four homes will be built nearby on New Pineola Road.

Belcher says the project provides an opportunity to recognize the Carters and address a community issue.

 “It’s a real privilege and honor to be hosting it, to celebrate the life and legacy of President and Mrs. Carter, all they’ve done for Habitat,” Belcher said. “And to put Charlotte really on the world stage, to be able to talk about affordable housing, honor the Carters, and really bring homeownership opportunities to families.”

Charlotte’s first Carter Work Project occurred in 1987 in the Optimist Park neighborhood on the outskirts of uptown. The Carters participated in that project, which built 14 homes.

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Elvis Menayese is a Report for America corps member covering issues involving race and equity for WFAE. He previously was a member of the Queens University News Service. Major support for WFAE's Race & Equity Team comes from Novant Health and Wells Fargo.