Amphitheater construction needs to be complete by the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday

Published 6:17pm Thursday, May 29, 2014

During Tuesday’s council meeting, Selma Mayor George Evans and members of his administration said work on the long-awaited riverfront amphitheater project should finish in December.

With all do respect, Mayor Evans, we have heard deadlines like that one before. It is our hope that this time it really happens.

Thanks to a laundry list of reasons — whether they be escalating budgets, structural issues, failed bid processes or staff mismanagement — the amphitheater that was discussed years ago and approved by voters in a bond issue in 2009 remains incomplete.

Now, the goal is for the project to be completed in December.

Let us hope that is the case because it would be a shame for that park — the center of what is hoped to be the spark of more riverfront redevelopment in Selma — to not be ready when the world comes calling for the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in late February and March 2015.

The Times-Journal was a supporter of the bond issue in 2009 and has been a long-time supporter of the amphitheater project. We believe it would be a huge asset to the city’s continued development and the centerpiece for a downtown entertainment district.

But, the time has come for this to be done.

We understand projects have problems, but the delays in this project — for whatever reason — have stretched far beyond the norm, even for government-run projects.

We have all seen what this park can mean for Selma, like last Labor Day when the park played host to a huge crowd and fireworks show. It was well done and proved the park can be and will be an asset; we just need it finished.

Ward 4 councilwoman Angela Benjamin and others who have raised concerns about the project’s delays are right to do so and should be commended for staying on the topic.

It is now up to the mayor and his administration for also staying on topic and ensuring this project is completed on or before the December deadline.

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