Additional consideration necessary

Published 9:59 pm Monday, September 7, 2009

Last week the Selma City Council made some changes to the proposed bond issue, which pushed up the measure to $12 million and some change.

Some of the changes seemed well-reasoned. The $50,000 allocated to each ward for tearing down dilapidated housing seems as reasonable as some of the infrastructure work. Selma will look cleaner, better for the effort.

But $350,000 to reclaim a landfill seems extreme, especially with the city council already having allocated $314,000 for the same project. Add the $350,000 to the promised tab and you have more than a half-million dollars going to the project.

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Already the work has begun on the project.

Council member Bennie Ruth Crenshaw requested this additional $350,000 from the council, which gave its majority approval last week.

That approval needs to be reconsidered by the council. Crenshaw receives oil and gas money for projects in her ward. The reclamation of the landfill would not cost a great deal of money, if it is turned into a green space with natural barriers. Certainly a project of this scope is doable with Crenshaw’s oil and gas money.

For years scientists and environmentalists have recommended planting natural grasses to the area on those sites once used as landfills after the initial reclamation work is completed.

The grasses are planted on about 1 1/2 inches of sandy soil, which keeps a great deal of water from leaching through the system.

Additionally, plants natural to the area could serve as “fences,” taking care of neighborhood demands for a “pretty” site.

After the grasses seed and grow, the place should stand as a green space in the neighborhood, open for walking or playing without any additional work.

This type program for reclaiming the landfill after the initial work is completed does not cost $350,000. Crenshaw could use her oil and gas money in stages with help from the community to complete the project.

Other wards take on volunteers and projects to accomplish what they need.

The council should open up the vote again on this project. It acted too hastily last week.