Credit where credit is duePublished 6:32pm Saturday, July 20, 2013
In 2011 and in early 2012, we were heavily critical of the slow decision making on the part of the previous owners of the Old YMCA on Broad Street and the city of Selma.
In many opinion pieces, we called each party negligent in the decay of the iconic downtown building and challenged someone to do something to save the building, or at least reach a decision to remove the potentially dangerous building.
Today, we write this piece to celebrate that months of hard work have paid off and the oldest YMCA building in the state of Alabama is stable and stands ready for continued development.
Thanks to the work of the Selma-Dallas County Historic Preservation Society, and their construction partners, the Old YMCA is no longer a handclap away from collapsing onto Broad Street or its next-door neighbor, Swift Drugs.
But even though we celebrate the saving of this iconic building, we cannot help but take notice of the other buildings in downtown — primarily the handsomely wrapped Teppers Building — that remain in peril; that remain owned by absentee owners or those who have neither the means or the intention to preserve these beautiful and important buildings.
We have spent a lot of time and energy calling for action from the Selma City Council to step in — using ordinances or simply enforcing ordinances already on the books — to find ways to preserve these old buildings, clean up these historic streets and push owners to do the right thing.
Then again, we have seen how the city council has worked in protecting its own property — the historic St. James — from incapable managers. Maybe they are not the ones we should be counting on.
With that said, we applaud the efforts of private groups, such as the Selma-Dallas County Historic Preservation Society, for stepping in and doing what others were either unwilling or incapable of doing and saving a Selma treasure. We hope others will follow their lead.