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Playgrounds on Selma’s horizon

Some Selma Council members would like to see more playgrounds built in the city to accommodate the area’s children.

Council member Dr. Monica Newton brought up the issue last week during the council’s meeting. The idea was borne out of a National League of Cities meeting, which some council members attended earlier this year.

“One of the things, I think, all of us want to give our children in our wards are places to have fun. One of the things I learned recently, I don’t think Ward 5 has a playground.”

Ward 5 is represented by Council member Samuel Randolph. Newton represents Ward 3.

Newton and members of the city council Community Development Committee thought each council person could use oil lease money, designated for bricks and mortar-type work in each ward, to collaboratively place playgrounds across the city by constructing a playground in two wards per year for the next four years.

Newton said the playground would have safe equipment, mostly plastic, which would cost about $25,000 to $35,000.

“So what we would be looking out is about $50,000 out of the $250,000 in oil lease money,” she said, adding that the first playground would go to Ward 5 because it doesn’t have one.

Council members had nothing to say about the project publicly. Council President Dr. Geraldine Allen asked Newton to submit a written proposal for the playgrounds, including cost breakdowns, so the council would have more information.

The project has the support of at least two other council members. Council member Angela Benjamin of Ward 4 is chair of the body’s Community Development Committee. When the committee met, she said, the group agreed if the whole council did not support the venture, then those that did would pool their money to see the projects through.

“We think this is something we need to do for our children,” Benjamin said. “We all agreed on it.”

Members of the committee include Newton and Council member Susan Keith of Ward 2.

“Play is necessary for children for their development and their growth and it gives parents the opportunity to playfully interact with their children,” Keith said. “With national and regional obesity problems in children, it would seem we would all rally around this program.”