One of Selma’s downtown gifts is unraveling

Published 7:14pm Saturday, December 8, 2012

When the Selma City Council meets Tuesday, there will be a feeling of Christmas spirit and joy as the council hosts a meet and greet before their regular scheduled meeting.

There will be guests — those who were encouraged to bring a canned food item to support the Christian Alliance’s food pantry — getting the chance to mix and mingle with the city’s elected leaders and representatives from the city’s departments.

And while the agenda for Tuesday’s council meeting — as well as the report from Selma Mayor George Evans — hasn’t been finalized, it is almost a given there will be a listed item that will — if the trend continues — will get very shallow discussion.

That item — that topic — is the one involving the Teppers Building, an iconic downtown Selma building that is being left to deteriorate by its owners.

The item has been on each meeting’s agenda for months now and the only thing that has been done in those months is the ever-present building plastic wrapping on the outside has started to unravel.

It wasn’t that long ago that the city council — and those with the Selma-Dallas County Historic Preservation Society — were close to riot when the Old YMCA building that is also in downtown Selma, was apparently being left behind by its owners.

Where is the outrage for the Teppers Building? Where are the “concerned citizens” filling the rows at each city council meeting? Where is the council’s intense pressure on the building’s owners to get something done?

We could not be more pleased work on the Old YMCA building is ongoing and that the Preservation Society is making good on their commitment to stabilize the historic downtown building. We can only hope their work continues and ensures the building is around for another 100 years.

In regards to Teppers, we can only imagine that if the building is left in the hands of its current owners, left to fall apart before our very eyes, then the council and city will have no one to blame other than themselves.

Those who own downtown buildings — those who own some of the most iconic buildings in Selma — must take such ownership seriously. They should ensure the buildings are preserved, protected and can be shared for generations to come.

The Teppers is just one example. There are others, including those along Water Avenue, that seem just crumble or fall into the river. It’s a shame.

In addition to focusing their efforts on Teppers, the council must also focus on codes and ordinances that are designed to protect these buildings and protect Selma’s image.

If these codes are not strong enough, change them. If the Code Enforcement office is unable or unwilling to enforce these codes, then make changes.

These buildings are true treasures and true gifts to Selma that deserve more. They deserve ours and the city’s best.

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