Bienville monument moved due to sinking groundPublished 7:58pm Saturday, April 6, 2013
Long before the city of Selma was called Selma, it was known as Ecor Bienville, meaning the cliffs or bluffs of Bienville. The area was named by French explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville, and is the first recorded name of the area now known as Selma.
The monument dedicated to Selma’s earliest history that lies in Bienville Park on Water Avenue was moved Friday to a temporary location within the park after concerned citizens made the city aware the bank which the monument has been sitting is sinking.
“It was definitely sinking and getting lower and lower,” said Greg Bjelke, Selma City Councilman for Ward 3. “They moved it to a temporary location so we can have a foundation poured closer to Water Avenue.”
Bjelke said A-1 Auto & Wrecker Service in Selma volunteered to move the monument free of charge Friday.
“We’ve bought a little time,” Bjelke said of the monument on city property. “We’re going to put a better, stronger foundation in there and fix the sink in the back.”
Bjelke noted that the monument’s temporary move Friday had a lot to do with the calls he received from David Hurlbut, owner of the Harmony Club on Water Avenue.
Hurlbut said he has been helping to spearhead the project and has continued to call the city to get the monument moved to a more secure location.
“It’s shifted another six inches in the last month, and is leaning and headed towards the river,” Hurlbut said Friday while the crew worked to move the monument. “If it goes over [the bluff], we’ll never get it back, I mean, look how difficult it is for them to drag it around on flat ground, much less getting it up a slope.”
The monument was put in Bienville Park in 1932 by The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Alabama.
We need to move the monument, Hurlbut said, “because it was about to cave into the river. It was getting progressively worse; with this last month and a half with the rain that we’ve had, it became much more noticeable that it was slipping towards the river.”
Hurlbut said he hopes the monument will soon have a new foundation that has enough space around it for people to sit and enjoy the park.
Bjelke said the goal is to have a new foundation for the monument before the ArtsRevive StreetFest May 18.