Preserve quality of life in Old Town

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2006

To the Editor:

In every small town there is a neighborhood that reflects “the flavor” of its space. The essence of Selma is the Historic Old Town District. Within its boundaries lie Sturdivant Hall, Henderson House, Brownstone Manor, Fairoaks Square and Byrd Elementary School … just to mention a few.

Whether they are publicly or privately owned, each displays integrity of location and association. Among the historic properties you will find: Single family homes, law offices, antique shops, medical/dental offices, accountants and frame shops. Each is located in an historic home that has an economic value that is a function of location.

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Located on half of the 500 block of Mabry Street is the Circle of Love Center, owned and operated by the Ellwood Community Church. Through a casual conversation in a public place, with an employee of Ellwood, information was learned that the church partnered with Wallace Community College to convert the former Dunn Rest Home facility into athletic dormitories.

Not rumor, not gossip, but information freely given as common knowledge! Indeed, outside clean-up was being done. Our Ward 3 councilperson had known of such a plan for weeks.

After many contacts and objections, it was learned that Plan B is to use it as a Facility for Single Room Occupancy.

This change was not clearly defined by Pastor Crum.

Letting rooms for a night clearly does not meet the zoning code. As mother, teacher, preservationist and environmentalist, my actions have advocated diversity, inclusion and “standing up” for what you believe to be good and right. I will rely on the good people of Ellwood to make a plan that will display “integrity of location and association.”

Restoration of an historic structure is only the first step in preservation. Maintenance is the key, but it is unending. Older buildings (like the Circle of Love Center) can survive and thrive with proper upkeep, and at the same time accommodate present day “appropriate use and function” of the structure. As an Old Town resident and home owner, my only agenda is to: Be safe and take pride in my community. This is a quality of life that can be quantified.

Caroline Childers Majors