Unfinished walking trail

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 28, 2006

To the Editor:

On Feb. 16, 2006, local city and county officials held the dedication for the Valley Creek Walking Trail recently constructed in the Bloch Park area. The new walking track, with its health stations, is a facility that Selma and Dallas County’s citizens can be proud of. I have taken the opportunity myself to use it on several occasions and it is a nice addition to our city.

My only question is “Why was the dedication ceremony held before the trail was completed?” In locating the trail where approximately half of its length parallels the tree line along Valley Creek, the recreation department has created a potentially dangerous situation for users of the trail.

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The path of the trail is about 50 feet from the undergrowth in the trees along Valley Creek.

This condition could allow a would-be attacker the opportunity to force a potential victim from the trail into the woods and out of sight within a matter of seconds. Don’t say that this is something that won’t happen here.

This is something that has already happened here, within sight of this trail, and it could happen again. The nearness of the woods along Marina Drive provided the cover needed for the attack which occurred last November.

The attacker used the cover of the woods to conceal himself and his victim during the act and again later when he was attempting to leave the area. Wake up people!

That perpetrator is still walking the streets of this town!

The part of the trail, in my opinion, that still needs to be completed would be a 4′ to 6′ high, chain link fence located approximately two-thirds of the distance from the trail to the tree line along the side bordered by Valley Creek.

By locating the fence in this position, the city’s maintenance crews can mow both sides of the fence which will allow an unobstructed view of the area while removing a situation where an “instant abduction” could occur.

When I mentioned this subject to the director of the Selma Recreation Department, Mr. Elton Reese, his reply was that “Someone had made the comment that a fence would ruin the aesthetics of the area.” AESTHETICS! Give me a break! We are talking about safety here – NOT AESTHETICS!

The area of Dallas Avenue, Old Live Oak Cemetery, Bloch Park and Marina Drive has become a dangerous area with numerous crimes taking place there recently.

Hardly a day goes by that police are not dispatched to investigate serious problems in this area. To increase the safety of the walking trail area, the citizens of Selma should demand that this fence be installed.

Call the Mayor, call your city councilperson, call your county commissioner, call the police chief and the recreation department and tell them to finish the Valley Creek Walking Trail. Build the fence! It won’t be done unless you demand it!

Be careful out there and be ever mindful of your surroundings. It could save your life.

Randy Smith