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Selma resident David Hurlbut kicks a chunk of loose dirt into a sink hole at Bienville Park Monday afternoon. The sinkhole developed over the weekend, in the spot where a monument to French explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville was moved from earlier this year. (Jay Sowers | Times-Journal)
Selma resident David Hurlbut kicks a chunk of loose dirt into a sink hole at Bienville Park Monday afternoon. The sinkhole developed over the weekend, in the spot where a monument to French explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville was moved from earlier this year.
(Jay Sowers | Times-Journal)

Massive hole breaks open in Selma’s Bienville Park

Published 9:15pm Monday, December 16, 2013

A Bienville Park monument, erected to remember the very earliest days of Selma, nearly became history itself over the weekend as a sinkhole opened up under the spot where it once stood.

Standing at the center of the park named for French explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville, the monument was moved from it’s original location in April of this year after citizens began to notice it was sinking.

Ward 3 Councilman Greg Bjelke said he is breathing a small sigh of relief because the monument had been moved, but he fears the threat isn’t over.

“It’s a good thing we moved that monument. It wouldn’t be there if we hadn’t,” Bjelke said. “We need to keep on going, because that hole is going to keep coming.”

Bjelke said he has started reaching out to community members for input on the issue, which he said has also resulted in several depressions developing along Lauderdale Street over recent weeks.

“I have a gentleman who is a civil engineer who has volunteered his services,” Bjelke said. “And I am going to have him tell me his opinion about this and about what can be done,”

David Hurlbut, who lives across Water Avenue from Bienville Park, helped organize the monuments’ move earlier this year and said it’s time for the city to look in to what caused the sinkhole.

“Put a camera in the whole and see what the problems is,” Hurlbut said. “They do it all over the world. I mean, we are lucky that no body was standing here when it happened. There we children standing here during the fireworks and this would have killed someone. With Jubilee coming up, this needs fixed.”

 

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