Message from John Quinn, Board of Directors of Smithville CommUNITY Coalition:
“If you have an interest in social justice and righting future history, come to Cornelius Town Hall Tuesday, June 5th at 6pm to hear the NC Dept of Transportation’s response to the neighborhood of Smithville’s objection to the construction of a new road cutting through their community. This road, if built, will take away many homes, displace residents, and reduce property values.
‘Save Our Smithville’ and allow neighborhood driven revitalization to occur. And allow Smithville to grow and thrive along with other planned changes in Old Town Cornelius. It is good for Smithville, good for Cornelius and the right thing to do to honor this community long ignored by surrounding progress.
The NCDOT meeting notice for this type of discussion is aimed at neighborhood residents only, but these impending injustices need all Cornelius citizens to be aware and care. Otherwise big government and a road will plow through this neighborhood to the detriment of all.
We need a big turnout from residents, citizens, and local allies to prevent the ‘road to extinction’ of this historic neighborhood. ~ Quinn
For those not familiar with Smithville and the valuable historical and cultural significance this neighborhood has to OTC’s identity:
Founded in 1910, Smithville is one of the oldest communities in Cornelius, with roots dating back to the 1880s. The Smithville CommUNITY Coalition was formed in 2011 and is made up of residents, area citizens, non-profits and faith-based communities. Their vision is to revitalize and transform their community into a vibrant, safe and attractive place to live and work that builds pride in its residents and attracts new developments of affordable homes and businesses, focusing on empowering all individuals and strengthening families.
——-With the end of the Civil War, and abolishmentof slavery, a community began to grow– Smithville. Due to the generosity and compassion of Jacob Smith, a farmer and owner of the Smith Store who was married to a descendant of the Potts family, black farmers and laborers were able to acquire land on then the western side of town. This allowed many the opportunity to stay in Cornelius if they chose to do so. Smith knew that without some established community, many African Americans would be forced to relocate their families and could be separated. Many of the land was donated or financed to these families, the descendants of the slaves who once worked the area plantations.
The story of Smithville is of utmost importance in the identity of our area’s heritage and endangered.
Smithville was not annexed by Cornelius until 1972 after the construction of Lake Norman and I 77.
Learn More from Cornelius Today’s Feb 13 Post: NCDOT Rethinking About RoundAbout at QT