Affordable housing movement

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 11, 2006

New apartments part of $28 million new construction plan

By Victor Inge

The Selma Times-Journal

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Magnolia Gardens Apartments are an example of cooperation that improves housing in Selma, and plans are being studied for more.

The general partners joined in a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday marking the grand opening of phase II of the apartment complex, which has 48 apartments at Magnolia and 72 units at Magnolia Gardens. Trudy Cook, complex manager, said she only has about four units left.

The Jonathan Daniels Community Development Corporation partnered with Olympia Construction in Albertville, Jeff Beaver and Ralph Fullerton to make new, affordable housing a reality. Joyce Kendrick, director of the Jonathan Daniels CDC, became emotional after Olympia’s Butch Richardson handed her three sets of plans for units to be built in east Selma.

“We really had a great team,” said Richardson, development manager at Olympia. “It’s no fluke. It’s real. Everybody has been absolutely wonderful.”

Mayor James Perkins Jr. said Magnolia Apartments are “a part of $28 million in new construction in Selma this year,” and they have discussed improving housing in Ward 8, one of Selma’s oldest communities.

“Councilwoman (Jannie) Venter and Joyce have been in my office three times over the past couple months, talking about affordable housing in Ward 8,” Perkins said.

Council President George Evans said the new apartments complex “is an example of what we can do when we work together.”

Venter said the plans they are looking at for east Selma are duplex, townhouse and single family units along Hardy Street, and will have the pond as its neighbor.

The CDC is named after martyred Episcopal seminarian Jonathan Myrick Daniels, who was killed in Lowndes County in August 1965 during the height of the Civil Rights Movement.

A native of Keene, N.H., Daniels was a seminarian at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass., when heeding a call from Dr. Martin Luther King for more clergy to join in the movement. Daniels had been arrested with 22 others for participating in voting rights demonstrations in Fort Deposit.

After being released on Aug. 20, 1965, Daniels saved 16-year-old Ruby Sales by pushing her to the ground and shielding her from a shotgun blast. A construction worker and part-time sheriff’s deputy, Tom Coleman, shot Daniels while trying to prevent a group of them from entering a Hayneville store to buy sodas, according to reports.

There were about 100 attending the ceremony, including Alice West. Daniels lived with the West family during his stay in Selma.