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Riverview beautification winner claims prize

Community revitalization takes on many different shades.

In Riverview, it means homeowners taking care of their properties.

Recently, the Riverview Neighborhood Association held a beautification contest to honor those who take care of their homes. Sarah James, 307 Lamar Ave., took first place.

Eight years ago, the Southside Primary School teacher searched for a place to call home in Selma. She found this particular house after searching the newspaper in the houses for sale section.

James liked the neighborhood. She liked the house and decided it was the proper fit for her and her son, 12-year-old Kotavis, a student at CHAT Academy.

“I like the fact it’s an older, historic big old house,” she said. “I had a vision for it.”

James had a good imagination. The reality that stood in front of her didn’t represent gingerbread baking in the oven overnight. Trees grew through the roof, and the house had no windows when she purchased it.

“It was really destroyed,” she said.

James made the vision happen.

“I made my last payment on Saturday,” she said. “Now, I can really do something.”

Karen Weir, a Riverview neighbor, praised James for the work she has completed on the house. Weir and James sit on James’ porch some afternoons and visit.

“She has worked so hard on this house,” Weir said. “Sarah has a nice sense of style. She sees the details in old houses.”

Judges Erica Slone of The Selma Times-Journal, Doug Fortner of Spiller Furniture and Mallieve Breeding of the Selma Beautification Committee seem to agree with Weir’s assessment of James’ sense of style.

Recently, Fortner presented James with a hurricane candleholder for winning first place.

Runners-up in the contest were the Rev. and Mrs. Karl Lewis of 42 Alabama Ave., second place; and Dr. and Mrs. J.R. Weir of 118 Riverview Drive.