Roof ready for interpretive center

Published 7:17 pm Thursday, February 5, 2009

Mayor George Evans got a bird’s-eye view of Selma Thursday.

Evans rode on a hydraulic lift to inspect the newly renovated roof of the building that will house the Selma Interpretive Center. The interpretive center, located at the northeast corner of Broad Street and Water Avenue, will provide visitors with a civil rights history lesson of Dallas County and the surrounding area through exhibits, artifacts and hands-on activities.

“The roof looked really sound and solid,” Evans said. “Certainly, it’ll be great to have that history right here for our kids.”

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The total cost to renovate the roof was around $400,000. Cooper Brothers Construction Company sub-contracted the job to Fancher Fabrication.

CBCC assistant project manager Steven South said the interpretive center would offer tourists the chance to learn about Selma’s history and stimulate the local economy.

“Being a Selma company, it’s special to do something in your hometown,” South said.

The project was funded through a grant from the Alabama Department of Transportation with the help of Rep. Artur Davis.

Now that the building is waterproof, stable and secure, Light said they could move forward with plans and designs. The next step will be to secure more funding and put the job out to bid.

“This is one of the first steps,” said Catherine Light, a supervisor for the National Parks Service. “Anytime people see their tax money going to a good use it’s a positive thing.”

The city needs more funding in order to continue with its plans. Evans is not sure where that funding will come from, but he hopes the Annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee in March will bring plenty of politicians and donors who are willing to help.

Despite the current lack of funds, Evans is optimistic that one day Water Avenue will be lined with bright, yellow school buses and automobiles as far as the eye can see, filled with people waiting to enter Selma’s brand-new interpretive center.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” Evans said.