First steps toward destination

Published 8:43 pm Saturday, September 27, 2008

Selma needs to accomplish a good bit and plan a good bit more before it becomes the destination spot along the Alabama River.

But recent action by the Selma City Council indicates the city might be headed in that direction.

Last week, the Selma City Council approved a couple of items that certainly increase the possibility of garnering some tourist traffic along the Alabama River.

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First, the council approved to ante up the matching funds for a new fuel pump at the Selma City Marina. The state agreed to give the city a grant of $17,780 to replace the existing pump. Three council members — Jean Martin, Cecil Williamson and George Evans — chipped in the matching funds from their oil lease allotments. The matching funds, a council resolution approving the grant and paperwork is all the state needs, according to Charlotte Griffeth, director of the Selma Planning and Community Development Department.

Thornton Clark, vice president of the Alabama Scenic River Trail, explained the importance of this development by pointing out the single source of gasoline on the Alabama River is at Miller’s Bend. Clark sells the 637-mile river trail every chance he gets, and rightly so. Alabama has much to offer in the way of natural beauty and resources. People who travel along the river trail from Georgia to Mobile usually travel slowly to appreciate the beauty of this state.

But those travelers also want to enjoy the people and places along the seven rivers that make up the trail. Drawing people into Selma is one of the benefits of another proposal the council has approved.

Last week, shortly after giving its unanimous consent to replacing the marina’s pump, the council approved placing a 25 percent cash match to a $600,000 federal grant that, if received, would see a floating dock constructed near the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The dock, said Clark, would offer a place for pleasure boaters to tie up for the night and enjoy the ambience of Selma.

We congratulate the council on taking these steps toward making Selma an important destination along the Alabama River. Now, we look forward to the council working with property owners to make our downtown near the river a place the tourists will clamor to from the riverway and the highways.