Clean up the block

Published 7:40 pm Wednesday, August 19, 2009

One of the best moves to come from Selma City Hall since the municipal election has been the attention given to property owners who fail to adhere to city ordinances related to the condition of their property.

The council, mayor and code enforcement have worked diligently to see these properties cleaned up. Elected officials have also made sure the city gets back its time in labor by placing a lien on the property, so property owners have to foot the bill when they pay their taxes.

But, as in many cases, it’s hard to look in your own back yard. Take a short walk east from City Hall and you’ll come to the intersection of Water Avenue and Broad Street, the proposed site of the Selma Interpretive Center.The city owns the entire block and earlier this year workmen finished repairing the roof of the large yellow building.

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These buildings are some of first structures people see when they cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge and enter downtown.

Unfortunately the city has been so focused on asking other people to clean up their property and adhere to city ordinances, it seems to have overlooked the need to take care of its property.

A quick look at the buildings shows broken windows, broken shutters and peeling paint. It seems as though the ceiling has fallen down in one building, something that can be easily viewed through the uncovered windows.

In short, they’re a mess.

The good news is that with a little elbow grease and a minimal investment, the entire look of the block could be changed, thus hopefully setting an example for other property owners whose buildings are in similar shape, while enhancing the city’s image to those that live here and visit us.

For instance, create a visually appealing arrangement in the windows instead of the visually unappealing wreck that currently exists. If that can’t be accomplished, hang something in the windows to obscure the view of the inside from visitors.

Paint the exterior of the buildings and kill the weeds that are growing out of the walls. Consider repairing or removing the awnings.

It could be successfully argued that the intersection of Water and Broad is one of the most historic intersections anywhere in the country because of the events that played out there.

It also has the potential to be one of the most important intersections in the future of this community.

Let’s treat it as such.