Northeast Community Plan
The Town of Wake Forest is developing a plan for the future of the Northeast Community. This plan will recommend policies and actions responding to current and future community needs. The goal is to help preserve the history, diversity, and affordability of the area while addressing issues of growth, economic health, public infrastructure, and preservation. There will be many opportunities for residents to share their input on the plan in a variety of ways.
The plan will address:
Existing conditions in the neighborhood, including issues related to housing and community facilities
Economic needs, such as local services and jobs
Public facility features, including bicycle and pedestrian paths
Preservation of community character
Northeast Community History
The Northeast Community has a bold and significant history in the Town of Wake Forest. After the Civil War, much of the land in the neighborhood was settled by African Americans and many of today’s residents are descendants of the early families. Early residents were teachers, farmers, blacksmiths, barbers, house builders, carpenters, campus workers, railroad workers, grocers, and dry cleaners among others.
Olive Branch Church was established in this area shortly after the close of the Civil War and became the cornerstone of the African American community. A freedman’s school and later public school were located adjacent to the church and at the site of today’s Alston Massenburg Center.
In 1905, Allen Young, born and raised in northeast Wake Forest, started the Spring Street Presbyterian Church and Mission School on Spring Street with Nathaniel Mitchell. Allen Young grew the Mission School, and it became the Wake Forest Normal and Industrial School, the first private school for African American children in Wake Forest. Young’s school operated until 1957, the year of his death.
Public education was also expanded in the 1920s under the Rosenwald Fund. In 1926, the W.E.B. DuBois School was established as a Rosenwald School to provide public educational opportunities to local African American children.
The areas surrounding the school are still owned and lived in by many of the alumni of the school. Residents of the northeast take great pride in their community and many have lived in the neighborhood their entire lives.
The Northeast Community Neighborhood is in the northeast quadrant of the Town of Wake Forest. It is comprised of over 300 acres of land that include more than 700 parcels. The neighborhood is bordered by Wait Avenue to the south, North White Street to the west, and abuts the downtown commercial area. This area is home to approximately 2,300 people and is comprised mostly of single-family housing with some private and public multi-family developments.
The neighborhood is also home to active churches, small businesses, the Ailey Young House historic site, the Wake Forest Cemetery, the DuBois campus, the Alston Massenburg Center, Taylor Street Park Sprayground, and Ailey Young Park.
The Northeast Community Coalition (NECC) has taken an active advocacy role in the neighborhood with the mission to advocate for change and unity, to improve diversity and quality of life for the residents by creating community awareness and hope.