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With no fueling station between Selma and Montgomery, area boaters are in a bind when it comes to gassing up on the river. There have been talks of adding a fuel station, but no real effort to add one has been made within the past year, said Ward 3 Councilman Greg Bjelke. --file photo
With no fueling station between Selma and Montgomery, area boaters are in a bind when it comes to gassing up on the river. There have been talks of adding a fuel station, but no real effort to add one has been made within the past year, said Ward 3 Councilman Greg Bjelke. -- File photo

Leaders discuss adding fuel station to city marina

Published 3:55pm Saturday, July 27, 2013

By Sarah Mahan

The Selma Times-Journal

While efforts to revitalize the Selma City Marina brought improvements to the local boating destination, discussions about adding a fueling station to the marina appear to have all but ceased in Selma City Council meetings.

Ward 3 Selma City Councilman Greg Bjelke, who represents the area where the marina is located — said it has been almost a year since plans were discussed to add a fueling station.

“When the marina was being discussed last year, we were focused on getting it up and running, and then there were plans to add a fueling station. It hasn’t been discussed in a while though,” Bjelke said.

Gordon McLendon, owner of the Sandbar Restaurant, located at the Selma City Marina, said he knew of previous efforts by the council to add a fueling station at the marina.

“I know the city has been working on possibly getting a fuel station put in, but I know that can be difficult,” McLendon said. “It’s been [several] years since we have had one. I don’t think [adding one] would increase our business much, but I do believe it would increase traffic on the river. It would give [people] a reliable place to get gas, which would increase river travel.”

Theodis Williams, a park ranger with the Army Corps of Engineers, said no fueling stations exists on the Alabama River, between Montgomery and Selma.

“From Montgomery to Dallas County, there are none. There is a lot of recreational traffic [on that part of the river],” Williams said. “Through the years, barge traffic dropped, and those fueling stations slowly closed.”

Pat Robbins, a spokesperson for Mobile District Army Corps of Engineers, explained the normal process of adding a fueling station to a city marina would require plenty of moving parts.

“Millers Ferry’s fueling station is the only one between Montgomery and Mobile at this time. Without knowing specifics, the city would need to contact our regulatory office to work on gaining a permit from us [in order to add a fueling station]. They would also need any city or state permits [necessary],” Robbins said. “There would be some costs associated with gaining the correct permits, but I don’t believe it would be [extreme].”

Bjelke emphasized the need to address adding fueling stations at the marina.

“It sure is something that needs to be done. It is a good service to have for people coming down the Alabama River,” Bjelke said. “I don’t think it would bring huge returns financially, but it is a good addition to what’s already there. It would make boating at the marina so much more convenient.”

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