Selmont studies incorporation

Published 9:33 pm Monday, September 27, 2010

Selmont is a better place today than it was several months ago because of a joint program between the Dallas County office of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the Dallas County Commission, according to Commissioner Connel Towns, who represents that area.

After the yearlong study as a pilot project on Turning the Tide on Poverty, some residents in Selmont have formed a study committee to determine if they want to begin the process of incorporation. This is in the early stages, he said.

“I am not pushing incorporation and I’m not pushing annexation,” Towns told the commission during its meeting Monday.

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There are some services Towns as a commissioner said he couldn’t provide to the area just over the Edmund Pettus Bridge on U.S. Hwy. 80 East. For instance, fire and police protection are provided by the city of Selma as part of the police jurisdiction, which extends at least 5 miles beyond Selma’s city limits.

Mayor George Evans said he had heard some talk about the plan, but had not been a part of any formal meetings.

For the last year, about 25 Selma residents have worked under the auspices of Turning the Tide on Poverty directed by Callie Nelson, Dallas County’s extension coordinator.

Nelson said the project called for a yearlong community development project, which consisted of six weeks of study circles to discuss and section actions to address poverty.

“We followed this with action teams of more than 25 residents who selected three actions,” Nelson said. “Those actions are community pride, a fact-finding tour and organizing a CDC [community development corporation].”

As part of the community pride action, people took their Saturdays and picked up trash in various neighborhoods.

Sheryl Smedley, director of the Selma-Dallas Chamber of Commerce, was one of the volunteers. She worked every Saturday with residents of Selmont and earned praise from Towns Monday, who said, “ The community has really learned a lot from you all.”