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Community leaders in the Northwest Corridor flanked by JCSU President Ronald Carter and other school officials declared their support for the streetcar to be extended to Beatties Ford Road following a closed door meeting on Wednesday. Carter said the streetcar is an important asset to the continued development of the corridor which recently saw the opening of JCSU’s Mosiac Village.

Carter said he’s tired of hearing the flippant reactions and stereotypes in public discussions about the streetcar. When asked to explain, Carter cited comments that he’s heard regarding the corridor being too old to redevelop into a more significant business and residential community. Carter disagrees and says he doesn’t want to see the area gentrified the way uptown was in order to redevelop the corridor.

“It’s time for people to open their eyes and engage in a substantial conversation,” Carter said.

Carter said he will chair a committee to educate the public about the goals and objectives of the street car. He said he would like to see the issue put before the public in a referendum rather than simply be decided by the City Council. Carter said that with proper education, he thinks the public would support it.

Carter said Charlotte prides itself in being a can-do city and it tends to do what it wants such as build an uptown baseball stadium.

The group of community leaders, known as Indaba, has been meeting for the last two and a half years to discuss developments and challenges facing the district. In addition to supporting the streetcar, which has divided support on the City Council, the group also announced plans to publish an unnamed anthology of essays examining disparities affecting the corridor. Former Charlotte Observer columnist and director of JCSU’s Innovo Laboratory Ron Stodghill will edit the collection. It will feature contributions by local historians as well as community advocates and other experts.

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