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Proposed memorandum will likely see park through

A long contract with the Selma Historical Preservation Society and the Selma City Council almost destroyed hopes for Phoenix Park on Water Avenue. But a proposed memorandum of understanding between the city and the society likely will see the park through to fruition.

George Needham, a member of the society, talked to the city council about specifics of the proposed park, which would cover a vacant lot between the Pilcher Building and the Sherman Powell Building.

Needham said since his meeting last week with the council, a local landscape architect and contractor were contacted and are designing the infrastructure and green space to mesh with the general layout.

“The landscape contractor will be responsible for the underground preparations, so the ground will not have to be disturbed for late coming installations of water and electricity,” Needham said. “The city will be asked to provide a 1.5-inch water meter to assure adequate water to the site.”

The project will be completed in phases. The first phase calls for the city to clear debris, secure the buildings on three sides, and refill dirt to grade. The historic society would develop preliminary details, secure licensed contractors, survey available recovered artifacts and prepare the final design of covered areas.

Contractors would paint murals, construct three covered areas, stub the utilities, pave the area, prepare shrub and flower beds and sod the base soil, install the remainder of the watering system, sod and install electricity and lighting and rough in the underground systems.

The city’s work is completed, according to Mayor George Evans.

After City Attorney Jimmy Nunn proposed a contract, Needham said he would walk away from the project.

“This is not what we discussed,” Needham said, saying he was prepared to walk away.

Councilperson Dr. Monica Newton said Needham is a reasonable man and no contract is necessary.

The issue was referred to the council’s administrative committee and it will come up with a one-page memorandum of understanding that the council will approve at a later meeting.