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Valley Grande residents turn out in droves

The church couldn’t hold them all Tuesday night.

Approximately 700 people piled into the Central Baptist Church in the Valley Grande community, whose residents seemed to be united by one purpose and one purpose only. Stop annexation &045;&045; and maybe even incorporate.

Special guests addressed the residents, many of whom, standing far away outside the church, listened to the meeting on loudspeakers.

The guests included Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr.; Johnny Jones, head of the Dallas County Commission; Dallas County Commissioner Roy Moore; House District 67 candidates Mark Story and Yusuf Salaam; and Selma City Council members Rita Franklin and Glenn Sexton.

Fears of annexation by the city of Selma were ignited within the Valley Grande community within the last few weeks after residents heard about an annexation study done at the request of Perkins.

The study, entitled &uot;The City of Selma Annexation Feasibility Study,&uot; a 66-page booklet done by the Alabama Tombigbee Planning Commission, describes the economic impact of annexation on Selma and the surrounding areas.

Perkins said the study was funded by the state at a cost of $15,000.

Tuesday night, Perkins, as he has done in past days, told residents that the booklet was only a study, not a proposal for annexation.

Some of those at the meeting, however, appeared reluctant to believe Perkins’ claim.

Several questioned why Perkins would request a $15,000 study be done on something that &uot;wasn’t going to take place.&uot;

Moore, along with Franklin and Sexton, voiced similar concerns.

Franklin made similar comments.

Perkins accused Sexton of spreading rumors, and giving false information to the public.

During the meeting, many Valley Grande residents said they feared the possibility of annexation by an act of the Legislature without their vote on the proposal.

Several residents also said they favored the idea of incorporating Valley Grande as its own city as a way to prevent annexation of the area, now and in the future.

Story, who is also a Valley Grande resident, said incorporation was likely.