YMCA building dangerous

Published 1:26 am Thursday, November 12, 2009

SELMA — Orange cones and tape mark off the sidewalk in front of the once famous YMCA building across the street from Selma City Hall.

It appears, unless people in the community get together, the building might become a thing of the past intead of a relic of the past.

Tom Bolton, a local developer who owns the building, told the Selma City Council Tuesday night he can’t take the risk that the building might one day fall on the heads of people walking o the idewalk.

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Bolton had an engineer and other specialists examine the struture.

Ronald E. Martin, a structural engineer from Tuscaloosa, wrote a letter to Bolton after an examination of the building in October.

It was the second time he had examined the building since Sept. 1, 2006.

“Originally, there were several small isolated areas within the building where the floor was dangerous to walk,” Martin said. “The damage at these areas was not enough to deem the overall building unstable or dangerous. My recent inspection revealed large sections of the roof and floors have deteriorated and collapsed.”

Martin said in his professional opinion the building “is beyond reasonable repair.

Bolton told the council he came into possession of the property after First Baptist Church donated it to him. Bolton, who is part of the Sunrise Selma organization decided the building might be used to provide lofts for downtown living on the top floor and commercial or retail space, such as a grocery, down stairs.”

Sunrise Selma is a group of investors who have obtained structures in downtown and want to turn them into viable centers for residential and commercial use.

“I’m not going to tear down the building, yet, but it is a liability to me and to the city,” Bolton said.

Bolton will go before the historical commission when it meets later this month or next to discuss plans for the building. He said he appeared before the city council to keep them informed.