Movin’ on

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 19, 2006

Smiley accepts job with National Park Service

By Cassandra Mickens

The Selma Times-Journal

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Selma has its share of local celebrities. Tina Price is one of them.

Price – now known as Tina Smiley – has been the

“receptionist slash administrative assistant” at the Dallas County Centre for Commerce since May 2003.

On Friday, Price stepped down from her position and will begin work Monday as a park guide for the National Park Service (NPS) in Lowndes County, where an interpretive center highlighting the Selma-to-Montgomery National Historic Trail is scheduled to open Aug. 26.

“It has been a great experience for me at the Centre for Commerce,” Smiley said, referring to the many faces she would see in day’s time. “However, change is good. And what’s really, really good is being the first person from Selma that works in the capacity of the National Park Service as related to an event that Selma is well known for.”

Smiley paused and then said, “That blows me away. I’m just very honored by that.”

As park guide, Smiley will lead tours in the interpretive center, which is located in the Lowndes County town of White Hall and lead educational talks about the historic trail. She’s currently learning the history of the voting rights movement in Lowndes County, admitting she’s not exactly familiar with those events.

But she’s eager to learn. “I’m pretty much familiar with the Selma and Dallas County part and the Montgomery part I know,” she said.

Although stationed in Lowndes County, Smiley said NPS Superintendent Catherine Light has given her the okay to work closely with the City of Selma to increase the NPS’ presence.

“I would like to see the trail at a higher status so we can get NPS here, starting up a junior park ranger program and grooming youth about understanding the importance of tracking their out their future and planning ahead and developing their skills,” Smiley said.

Smiley plans on working with the City of Selma Department of Community Development, Selma Police Department Bike Patrol Unit, area schools and Selma’s Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops to up NPS’ visibility.

“There’s just so much potential and so many things we can do in the community,” Smiley said.

As she prepares for the interpretive center’s grand opening, Smiley said she’s looking forward to the next phase of the project, which involves the construction of two more interpretive centers in Selma and Montgomery.

“Selma’s pushing. We’re looking for Selma to be the next one to open,” she said.