Many visions, one effort

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 20, 2008

The issue: A group of city and county residents have met to map out their visions for the future.

Our position: Go ahead and take the next step.

Earlier this week, many members of the Selma-Dallas County community came together in a workshop at the St. James Hotel to put their visions on paper.

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They sat in a room with pens of various colors and large pieces of paper on tables in front of them.

They drew their visions of what they thought Selma should look like.

Many of the drawings centered on the Alabama River, which runs through our city. Some of the renderings contained sailboats. Others had children playing in a park with the river in the background. Still others showed businesses lined up along the river with an amphitheater and parks as well.

The drawings were as varied as the people who sat in the room.

Then, people began talking about their visions.

As one talked about a certain aspect, another person added an idea and then another and another.

Soon, the room felt charged with energy.

Certainly, people disagreed. When creativity flows in a room, not everyone will buy into a certain project.

But people in this workshop disagreed agreeably.

It’s uncertain exactly what will come out of the two-day session designed to look at downtown Selma, the Alabama River and Craig Field Industrial Park and how they might tie in.

But that the city brought people together and that the Environmental Protection Agency helped fund the event through a Brownfield grant and that people actually participated (thanks to a solid effort by James Waddell, a civil engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a facilitator) says a lot of things about Selma.

People are willing to work together. People care about this, their home. People have ideas, and when they’re asked, they share those ideas.

Our leadership should be encouraged to continue these sessions and not just those funded through some federal grants.

Many times, we have called for citizen volunteers to help govern by serving as visionaries and as advisors.

Now, a next step must occur.

Those visions must be decided upon. The city needs a focal point to work on.

It’s easy to talk.

It’s easy to meet and share ideas.

Now is the time for action.

Without sweat equity, without moving to the next step of realizations of at least one of those visions, the drawings on those large pieces of paper are no more than just that – somebody’s art work.