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For Sale sign up, community out 

Fate of nonprofit collective's home uncertain

One of the last remaining green spaces in Carrboro—a 10 1/2-acre communal space for public art, sustainability projects, an outdoor movie theater and a garden—may be disappearing.

Francesca Hyatt joins the carnival march to save the Carrboro Greenspace on Saturday, Aug. 4. - PHOTO BY CATHERINE EDGERTON

Last weekend, the Carrboro Greenspace collective held what was likely its final event at 116 Pittsboro St., and the tenants gathered their belongings to leave. The California-based owners have put the land on the market for $1.4 million.

"If we have a chance in society, we need these local projects," says Michal Osterweil, as she carried plates of locally grown food for the Aug. 4 potluck and fashion show. "This space provides a positive example. This place is so magical that I thought people would have a hard time letting it go."

Collective members Tamara Tal, right, and Lee Shaw pull bucket drums apart in preparation for the march through Carrboro to save the 10 1/2-acre Greenspace. - PHOTO BY CATHERINE EDGERTON
  • Photo by Catherine Edgerton
  • Collective members Tamara Tal, right, and Lee Shaw pull bucket drums apart in preparation for the march through Carrboro to save the 10 1/2-acre Greenspace.

Alexis Mastromichalis appreciated the space as a symbol of re-use and sustainability.

"You aren't going into an air-conditioned room to build a bike," says Mastromichalis. "You're working in a space that has been recycled, and you are recycling your time and knowledge to help build another bike."

Greenspace is home to the Walk In Tributary Theatre (WITT), the Casa Grande Community Garden and the ReCYCLEry, a nonprofit that encourages the use of bicycles through repair classes and other programs.

The skirts and shirts fashion show, by sladesign and The Merch - PHOTO BY CATHERINE EDGERTON

"It's unique in that it links a social place to the environment," says Sammy Slade, a tenant and activist, as he set up a film projector that shined blue light into a nearby forest. "Privatizing and denying access to these things that are essential is wrong."

So far, there have been no takers, but it is expected someone will purchase the land for development. However, Carrboro activists are hoping that a community investor will buy the property and keep it as a public space.

"We agree with the principles of the Greenspace," says April Morris, co-owner of the property. "We're just not in the position to donate the land."

More by Catherine Edgerton

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by Deb Sebring on In Hillsborough, One Man Marched Alone for Gun Reforms (Orange County)

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