Five Points residents unhappy about plan to demolish historic homes, build church parking lot
Posted March 7, 2018 10:30 p.m. EST
Updated July 13, 2018 2:07 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — A debate is brewing in Raleigh’s Five Points community between a church and its neighbors as Hayes Barton Baptist Church wants to tear down several old homes to make way for a parking lot.
In Raleigh’s historic Hayes Barton community, six homes on White Oak Road are ground zero for where history and progress intersect in the Five Points area.
“It’s kind of an anchor in the Five Points area,” said David Hailey with Hayes Barton Baptist Church.
On one side of the divide is the church and its plans to tear down six homes it owns in order to build a 78-space parking lot.
“I have been having a parking issue for quite a number of years and we’ve known it and we’ve just been at a loss at what to do about it,” Hailey said.
On the other side of the debate are residents who are concerned about losing the historic charm of the neighborhood if the homes are demolished.
“We want to be good neighbors to them,” said resident Jennifer Williams. “This is a very special place and thinking about living across the street from historic homes and then living across the street from a parking lot, there are a lot of safety concerns for our kids and the traffic.”
An artist rendering of the plans show the parking lot in proximity to the church. Hailey believes it’s the answer to the church’s parking problem, even though the plan is upsetting for some neighbors.
“I really believe this is going to be a good thing, not only for our church, but it’s going to be a good thing for this neighborhood and this community,” Hailey said.
Hailey believes the parking lot with benefit both the church and community in terms of additional parking because neighbors will be allowed to use it.
The neighbors say they want to start a dialogue with the church about tearing down the homes, which are more than just brick and mortar to them.
“This is our family, it’s our family. We don’t want a parking lot,” resident Eleanor Hunter said.
Neighbors said they have been meeting regularly to develop a plan to fight the planned parking lot.
Hailey said the plan is to continue renting the homes on a month-to-month basis, giving tenants time to find new living arrangements. He said they hope to break ground on the parking lot by the end of the year.