Cleaning up Memorial Park
Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 20, 2005
The Selma Times-Journal
The Civil Rights Memorial Park is a public park &045; for the risk-taking public, that is.
Although the park defines the entrance to the city, it is not owned by the city of Selma. A call to the Voting Rights Museum, the current owner of the property, didn’t clarify the problems with upkeep.
At present, the park defines the entrance to Selma on Highway 80 coming in across the Alabama River.
It features memorials to Civil Rights activists and wooden pathways through the land leading to the foot of the Alabama River. Although it does not provide access to the river, the park is located to facilitate views of the river and the underside of the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
The large entrance fountain is embellished with trash and the first sights that greet visitors on the pathways are mounds of bagged and loose trash.
A stage area exists at the far end of the property, but the seating for it is overgrown by weeds and the stage itself has rotted steps that end 12 feet above nowhere. The stage’s disrepair is a liability that stands as an accident waiting to happen. Below the rotted steps on the back half of the stage is a deep ravine with jutting stumps.
Chain link fencing surrounding the property is in need of securing and maintenance. Back up the pathway, a wooden pyramid lies capsized on its back, its base platform rotted. The wooden signs on trees highlighting the legacy that has come before us seems a blasphemy to the memories invoked &045; weeds, trash and broken wood obscuring some names.
Bland, who was 11 years old during Bloody Sunday, is on record as being the youngest person arrested and put in jail during the march.
The Jubilee celebration commemorating the Montgomery to Selma march for voting rights is scheduled to occur March 3-5.