N.C. Rep. Kelly Alexander
N.C. Rep. Kelly Alexander

Residents and business owners along the Beatties Ford Road corridor are invited to a “Taking Back Our Community” march and rally on Saturday, Oct. 17.

The event will highlight community efforts to combat crime and establish a “District Crime Watch,” said N.C. Rep. Kelly Alexander Jr., one of the organizers. Alexander said that he, along with Charlotte City Council member Al Alston, have been working with CMPD’s Metro Division since August to host town hall events and focus residents on crime prevention.

“The march is a way to symbolically show citizens that they are engaged in a large group effort to both change the actual facts on the ground and the perception of those facts,” Alexander wrote in a statement to Qcitymetro. “Our ultimate goal is to forge a coalition of neighborhood, elected officials and religious leaders to change the perception of the Beatties Ford Road. corridor.”

The march, scheduled for 9:30 a.m., will start at the Metro Division headquarters (1118 Beatties Ford Rd.) and end at the Beatties Ford Road Library (2412 Beatties Ford Rd.)

“Its a short walk, but a big step toward a new Beatties Ford Road,” Alexander said.

The march will happen just days after a man was robbed and shot outside a Bank of America branch on Beatties Ford Road. The victim’s injuries were said to be non life-threatening.

Crime prevention is only a part of recent efforts to address economic and social disparities along the Beatties Ford Road corridor, once considered a hub of Charlotte’s African American community.

The Knight Foundation earlier this year pledged $1.5 million to help spur business growth along a portion of the corridor, which includes Johnson C. Smith University. The grant will be spread over three years.

Charlotte Center City Partners, which will spearhead the effort, recently named Alysia Osborne to direct the revitalization program. She previously worked in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Department.

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Founder and publisher of Qcitymetro, Glenn has worked at newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Wall Street Journal and The Charlotte Observer.