Riverview residents set good example

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 20, 2008

The issue: A group of homeowners are taking back their neighborhood in a positive way.

Our position: The residents of the Riverview Historic District have set an example all of us should follow.

If you drive along the Riverview Historic District, you&8217;re likely to see a special type of vigilante taking back the neighborhood.

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Instead of arming themselves with guns and bats or knives, these residents shoulder rakes, brooms and have tool belts with hammers and screwdrivers.

The effort is called Operation Facelift.

On Thursday, a group from the Riverview Neighborhood Association appeared before the Historic Development Commission and asked for approval of several projects that include new paint, pillar work, new shutters, wood work, brick work and yard work. And the commission was glad to oblige.

Riverview is part of the heart of our downtown. It includes Alabama Avenue, King Street, Lamar Avenue, Lapsley Street, Pelham Street and Riverview Avenue. It is bordered by the Alabama River, Satterfield Street and Selma Avenue.

It is part of our history.

The residents want to keep the district up to standards &8212; high standards.

The association sets a great example for the rest of people who own property in Selma, especially in the historic district.

After all, tourism is one of the biggest draws this city has as evidenced by the many tour buses that park along Water Avenue and Broad Street each day. If people leave here and talk about the falling down buildings and unkempt lots, then Selma&8217;s tourism will gradually drop off, and the city will become another shell like so many others in the Deep South.

But if we begin to follow the direction of people like this association, then little by little, though sweat equity, we rebuild and re-invent ourselves.

Then, there&8217;s the other benefit of working on a project. We form alliances.

On Thursday, the vice president of the association, Gail Coulson, talked about that other benefit.

Law enforcement authorities tell us one of the greatest crime fighters is a close neighborhood.

Neighbors watch out for suspicious and unusual behavior in the neighborhood. As we get to know our neighbors, we can watch out for one another.

A close neighborhood also helps parents with children. A neighbor&8217;s house may become a safe house in the neighborhood where children can go if they need help.

Getting to know one another takes away the fear and suspicions about people that keep so many neighborhoods from joining together.

Hard work bonds.

We offer our congratulations to the folks in the association for their work to make Selma more attractive and for their example in creating a safer, more pleasant place in which to live and work.