Downtown losing its landmarks

Published 12:57 am Friday, November 13, 2009

Developer Tom Bolton came before the Selma City Council Tuesday night to talk about the dangerous condition of the old YMCA building across from City Hall.

There is no doubt after seeing photographs of what is left of the structure that it poses a danger to those who might wander inside, as well as those who walk past it each day.

Even more heartbreaking is the potential loss of the second oldest YMCA structure in the state of Alabama. Several people have talked about the old days and the fun they shared and the lessons they learned there at the old YMCA.

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In 1979, Nicholas Holmes conducted a study of downtown for the city. He is a restoration architect based in Mobile. Of the old YMCA he wrote, “This building is one of the pivotal features in the city.”

In some respects, our past is our future. Our large historical district stands proud. People come from all over to see the architecture and our historical district.

But walk downtown, and so many buildings need stabilization and rehabilitation. Selma is losing them one at a time, just like the old YMCA building.

Something must be done to stop the bleeding. The city owns too much dilapidated property as it is. These efforts will take private interests and money, just as Tom Bolton has done.

Too bad his taking of the old YMCA building came too late.