Bienville Park takes next stepPublished 8:30pm Wednesday, May 8, 2013
One month ago the Bienville Monument was moved after concerned residents made the city aware the bank on which the monument rested was sinking towards the Alabama River. The monument marks the first recorded name of the area now known as Selma — Ecor Bienville — and lies in Bienville Park on Water Avenue.
This week, the monument dedicated to Selma’s earliest history will have a secure and final resting place, as a concrete plinth, upon which the monument will sit was poured in two stages Saturday and Monday by Holbrook Ready-Mix of Selma. Those overseeing the project said the monument would be moved atop the new plinth by the end of the week.
The new foundation will not only support the monument in a more stable location within the park, but will allow space for visitors to sit on all of its sides, allowing for scenic views of the Alabama River and Water Avenue.
“We pulled it up where it’s not going to have a chance of falling into the river,” David Hurlbut, owner of the Harmony Club on Water Avenue and designer of the new plinth said of the monument, noting that even if it does sag or sink in the future, it will be closer to the street and easier to access. “I think [everyone] should just come by and look if they want, and now with a bigger plinth, all of this [extra area] will be seating.”
Greg Bjelke, Selma City Councilman for Ward 3 estimated the total cost of the project — to create the foundation and move the giant stone — would be nearly $2,000.
Those funds came from donations from the Colonial Dames, the group who originally placed the monument in Bienville Park in 1932, and from the Selma Garden Club. Bjelke said the city of Selma would cover any additional funds needed to complete the project.
The monument was moved after concerned residents contacted Selma City Councilman for Ward 3 in April, after noticing the ground the monument was sitting on was sinking down the bluff towards the Alabama River. A-1 Auto & Wrecker Service in Selma moved the monument April 5 to a temporary location while the plinth was being planned and then built and will again move monument this week to the new, secure foundation.