CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Hundreds gathered at Ovens Auditorium Sunday night to kick off the 37th annual Habitat for Humanity Carter Work Project, hosted by Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood.

It’s the first time the Carter Work Project has been hosted in the Queen City since 1987. It’s also the first work project since 2019 due to COVID, and it marks the first time President Jimmy Carter and Mrs. Rosalynn Carter have not been present at a work project since 1984.

Throughout the week, 900 volunteers per day will work on building 27 homes in West Charlotte, most of which are located at the Meadows at Plato Price, the site of the historically black Plato Price School which closed in 1966.

“There’s a lot of rich history about that community and we’re really excited that that land will eventually turn into 39 homes. And those are homes that are owned, so it’s really driving up the homeownership rate in an area of our county where the homeownership rates are really only about 26 percent,” said Habitat for Humanity Charlotte Region’s Senior Vice President of Advancement Shannon Green.

Throughout the week, volunteers will work on 23 homes at the Plato Price site, and four homes on New Pineola Road just over a mile away.

Sunday’s opening ceremony marked President Carter’s 99th birthday. The former president and his wife are credited with putting Habitat for Humanity on the map. Together, they have worked with more than 104,000 volunteers in 14 countries to build and renovate 4,390 homes.

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“I had the opportunity to work with them over in Nashville in 2019, and he was well into his 90s as was she at the time. And they worked all five days. They’re quite the builders, and they will be missed,” said Senior Vice President of Bank of America’s Charitable Foundation Brenda Suits.

This week’s work will allow some of the development’s homeowners to move into their homes a year earlier.

Closing ceremonies will be held on Friday at 4 p.m.