Symposium imparts ways to invest in Selma

Published 9:19 pm Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A group of businesspeople and some investors gathered at the St. James Hotel to listen to ways they could improve their communities through investment.

The developers and investor symposium was sponsored by the City of Selma Office of Planning and Development. The meeting featured speakers in the morning and a networking session in the afternoon.

“The Developers and Investors Symposium has been designed to bring all parties to the table in order to provide information on financial incentives, tax credits, public/private partnerships and agencies involved in structuring opportunities to stimulate new development in Selma,” said Mayor George Evans.

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Among those featured speakers were Beverly Helton, U.S. Department of Agriculture; Larry Bryant , Alabama Department of Environmental Management; and Shannon Law, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Helton, whose specialty is rural development, noted the redevelopment ongoing in Selma.

“I commend you for that,” she said.

Charlotte Griffeth, director of the city’s planning and development department, said the symposium began as a small affair, intended for a few businesses and possible investors.

“But there were more interested in development in Selma,” she said, “especially after the ribbon cutting for the Riverfront Park’s first phase.”

City officials and others turned dirt on the project last week. A Transportation Enhancement Grant through the Alabama Department of Transportation will pay for 80 percent of the estimated $340,000 cost to finish the first phase of the project. The city of Selma will pay the other 20 percent.

The project’s first phase will see construction of about 2,300 linear feet of 10-foot wide concrete path, a 50-foot timber bridge and two overlooks adjacent to the Alabama River.