East Selma wards meet on bond issue

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 23, 2008


The residents of East Selma say they have a better understanding of the proposed bond issue.

City Councilpersons Jannie Venter, Johnnie Leshore, Bennie Ruth Crenshaw, and Sam

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Randolph along with Mayor James Perkins Jr. met with Wards 6, 7 and 8

in the fellowship hall of New Hope Apostolic Church Tuesday night.

Some residents said they liked what they heard, others said they thought the bond issue was lacking.

“It seems like a good idea,” said Dora Braxton. “A lot of things were left out. I’m hoping we’ll be able to get it through. We’ve just got to pull together.”

Roughly 70 residents heard Perkins talk about the plans for the $12.3 million proposed bond issue. Council President George Evans, who supports the proposed bond, said he still had questions about a few details.

The municipal election set for Feb. 26 is when the matter will be decided &8212; one man, one vote.

Former councilman Lorenzo Harrison asked city officials about allocating more funds for East Selma, noting the proposed bond issue has $30,000 earmarked for restoration of Live Oak Cemetery.

“The west part of the city is being taken care of,” he said.

Perkins pointed out a number of old, dilapidated homes have already been demolished, and the construction of 132 new apartment units built in the last 36 months. He also pointed out the $2 million sewer project recently completed in the area.

The proposed bond issue includes $1,291,412 in improvements to Memorial Stadium and Bloch Park. Perkins said Concordia College plays college football games at Memorial Stadium, and that he was embarrased about the fact that visiting teams couldn’t dress here because of inadequate facilities at the stadium.

Elizabeth Charston said she felt the amount of the bond issue should be increased.

“We need something in it to motivate our young people,” she said. “If young people don’t prepare themselves, we’ll never get there. You can’t put someone on a job if they’re not qualified.”

Samequa Houston said some things she heard sounded good. “I still have my opinion on things,” she said.

Christopher C. Peterson asked questions about the proposed $2 million included in the proposed bond issue for a movie theater. He said Perkins&8217;

explanation made it clearer.

“I thought the city was getting into the movie theater business,” Peterson said. “If the city can give some kind of incentive to a developer to open the theater it makes sense.”

W.J. Harris made his way to the meeting in an electric wheelchair. He said he remembered when his home at the Rangedale Annex didn’t really feel like home. He said he liked what Perkins has done since he’s been in office. He said some people don’t.

“That’s because they can’t see all those abandoned houses. They’ve been torn down,” Harris said. “I can go back a little ways. I’m 67 years young.”

Harris said he enjoyed the community meeting, but was wary of politicians in general.

“That’s a big problem to me. You don’t see them until an election. Then it’s ‘vote for me,'” Harris said. “I got a little closer to understanding this. It (meeting) helped a whole lot.”