What’s inside the comprehensive plan?

Published 3:43 am Thursday, November 5, 2009

SELMA — Ask Patty Sexton and Charlotte Griffeth of the city’s Planning and Development Department, and they’ll tell you the hours and months citizens’ committees have poured into Selma’s proposed comprehensive community master plan.

But that’s par. After all, this is a living document designed for at least 25 years of growth, says Larry Watts, a representative of Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, responsible for putting the draft together

What’s in the plan?

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The plan outlines policies and recommendations in areas of land use and zoning, downtown revitalization, transportation and access, housing and neighborhoods, community facilities, infrastructure and services, economic and community development, arts and culture, special districts, historic preservation and natural resource and recreation.

The first portion of the plan, a community assessment, occurred many months ago. It included a review of past census data, other information about the people who live and work in Selma and even some from other studies and previous comprehensive plans.

During these public sessions held months ago, the public said they wanted to see a place where their children could find good employment; more playgrounds and green spaces; revitalization projects in the neighborhoods around Old Live Oak Cemetery that would offer tax credits, low-interest rehabilitation grants and loans; a unified school system, development at Craig Field and the list goes on.

Plan concepts call for a restored and active downtown as the city’s center with emphasis on the arts, culture, tourism and visitors. Those plans also call for residential living downtown.

Improvements needed, according to the plan, include replacing older infrastructure. Broad Street is envisioned as a “signature street.” Plans even call for potential expansion of City Hall and a convention or civic center.

The Riverfront Park is a key element to developing the downtown along Water Avenue, according to the plan.

“There are many different aspects of this plan,” said Mayor George Evans. “This is a work in progress and it will help guide us.”

Other key elements:

Major commercial revitalization district at the intersection of Broad Street and J.L. Chestnut Boulevard.

Comprehensive upgrade of water, sewer, storm drainage, streets and sidewalks.

Expansion of airport and river port facilities.

Continued development of U.S. 80 as a premiere commercial corridor, including the development of under-used or underdeveloped properties.

Establishment of development and visual and attractive gateways along major routes into the city, including the Edmund Pettus Bridge, Broad Street, U.S. 80 and others.

For more on the comprehensive plan, log into www.selmatimesjournal.com and click on the comprehensive plan document associated with this story.