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TUESDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2005
Chapel Hill buys two tracts of greenspace
~ *'*•■ ,
Town Council member Ed Harrison hikes through Chapel Hill's acquired
open space Monday on a trip scheduled by the Greenways Commission.
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Town pays SIM for 23 acres of land
BY KAYLA CARRICK
The town of Chapel Hill's recent
preservation of open space at a cost
of more than $1 million will help
save green spaces in built-up envi
ronment, town officials hope.
They also said they expect the
purchase will increase the value of
housing adjacent to the land
The land is 23 acres in the
Northside neighborhood and along
U.S. 15-501 south of Southern
After obtaining that land from the
heirs of the late Leo Merritt, Chapel
Hill will own about 740 acres ofland
reserved for open space.
Bill Bracey, vice chairman of the
town’s Greenways Commission,
said protecting the land will not
hurt development but instead will
have a positive result.
“I don’t think there will be an
effect on development but rather
on the quality of life for people,”
“The land is in an area that has
a few interesting aspects. It’s in a
poorer neighborhood, which is
usually underserved in parks.”
The town has an overall program
to try to get space in as many neigh
borhoods as possible, officials said.
Contiguous with open space the
town already owned, the new land
in the Northside neighborhood will
allow important greenspace con
nections, Bracey said.
“Nine acres ofland in the mid
dle of an older town doesn’t come
around that often,” he said.
“Its location near Bolin Creek
will help preserve water quality.”
Bill Webster, assistant director of
parks and recreation, said he hopes
someday a purchase will be made to
connect the different chunks of open
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space the town owns in the south,
which are separated by some land
under private ownership.
But that dream will have to wait
until the project receives more
funding, he said.
Of the $2 million in open space
bond funds approved by voters in
November 2003, only SIOO,OOO
“The only drawback to this
purchase is that there is now less
money for other land purchases,”
“In a real estate market like
Chapel Hill’s, the amount that we
have left will buy little. But this
property was a good price.”
In the future, prices of houses
near the open space land will
“Frequently, they advertise
that houses are located near open
space,” Bracey said.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if it
would affect the prices of these
houses. I’d rather live next to
ufyp Sailg (Tar HM
woods than an apartment build
ing, and I’d pay a little more of a
premium for it”
Webster said that he hasn’t
received negative feedback from
neighbors and that he stresses
striking a balance between hous
ing and open land.
“Open space is a neighborhood
amenity,” he said. “It’s a recreational,
visual and environmental amenity.”
Contact the City Editor
BY CAROLYN GRAY
Asa 14-year-old, he was forced
to murder other Ugandan children
and to fight for a cause he did not
After being abducted by the
Lord’s Resistance Army, this child,
like many of his peers, was forced to
leave behind everything he knew.
That situation is all too common
for Ugandan children, says junior
Jennifer Monroe, a member of the
Student Movement to End Child
After Monroe heard about the
14-year-old, she joined the group
to help children like him.
The organization’s goal is to
empower former child soldiers
and raise awareness within the
SMECS, a subgroup of Campus
Y, will host “The Untold Story: 19
Year War of Abduction and Child
Soldiering in Uganda” today at 6
p.m. in the Cobb Theater of the
Sonja Haynes Stone Center for
Black History and Culture.
Arthur Serota, executive direc
tor of the United Movement to End
Child Soldiering, which is based
in Washington D.C., and Kahlil
Almustafa, an acclaimed poet from
Harlem, will speak with students.
“When you think about Africa,
you think about AIDS, but there
are other things that people ignore,”
says sophomore Alexis Cooke, a
member of SMECS.
Sophomore Jonathan Pourzal
says that Uganda’s civil war has
had dire effects on its citizens and
that the international aid effort has
created a dependency situation.
“They have lost their livelihoods,”
says Pourzal, who founded SMECS
The group is working with
Friends of Orphans, a Ugandan
organization run by former child
soldiers that is committed to help
ing their people of the Acholi tribe.
SMECS aims to generate fund
ing for such organizations, where
money earned will go directly to
specific projects, including the
establishment of a poultry farm.
“We need as much widespread
support as possible,” Pourzal says.
“It’s a ripple effect: Once you help
people, they will do the same thing.”
Ninety percent of the Lord’s
Resistance Army is made up of chil
dren ages eight to 14. The average of
a Ugandan child soldier is 12.
“They are forced to kill their
own family, they are forced to rape,
murder each other and bury people
alive,” Monroe says.
To date, 30,000 children have
been abducted, she says.
“People don’t understand that
when children are killed and deci
mated it does not bode well for the
future of the country.”
Often, child soldiers only
remember their lives in the Army.
“They think that anger and
aggression is normal,” she says.
“They go back to the Army because
it is all they know.”
The organization plans to create
a faculty steering committee that
will get the word out and increase
It also aims to bring in students
from the medical and business
“Everyone is capable of helping,
even if it is just spreading the word,”
says sophomore Ayana Chandler, a
member of SMECS.
Meanwhile, after stepping on a
land mine in an effort to escape the
Army, the 14-year-old boy shattered
a leg, found a hospital and created
a makeshift prosthesis.
Now 18 years old although
he isn’t completely sure of his age
the boy has a wife and child and
works as a fisherman.
Pourzal and Monroe have split
the cost about SSO —of buying
him a prosthetic limb.
“I will be seeing him next sum
mer,” Monroe says. “I hope he has
his leg by now.”
Contact Features Editor