Selma hopes to land marina

Published 10:42 pm Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Selma fisherman Billy Copeland launches his boat Wednesday afternoon at the Selma city landing. The city hopes to construct a new City Marina to make the area more attractive to people who spend their days on the water. -- Rick Couch

Signs on U.S. and state highways welcome motorists to Selma on a daily basis. However, on the Alabama River there is no longer a reason for visitors by boat to stop.

At one point, the Selma City Marina was a popular destination for people spending the day on the river to break up their trips. However, after a September 2009 fire that began in a restaurant, boaters often continue down the river to Millers Ferry and other destinations.

Selma Park and Recreation director Elton Reece and others in the city would like to see that change.

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Without a marina, another aspect of tourism and tax dollars has suffered, Reece said.

“There’s nowhere for people to stop down there,” he said. “It’s just open water. People need a place to stop and get something to eat, but right now we don’t have anything.”

This is also a problem for fishing tournaments, where anglers have to be at the landing by 3 a.m. A restaurant that could provide breakfast would be great, Reece said.

Prior to the fire, Reece said a plan was in place to bring renovations to the landing. However, with $100,000 budgeted from a bond issue, they were still working to stay on target with bids.

Plans have been drawn up, Reece said, that would comply with requirements by the Alabama Conservation Department and accommodate most of the needs for boaters.

“It would have to be about 12 feet off the ground because of the flood plain,” Reece said. “We would have a restaurant on the top story that could serve fishermen and the public. On the bottom floor, it would be divided into two parts.”

One section, Reece said, could be used as a bait shop. The other would have a meeting room that could be used for organizations or rented out for conventions.

Having an up to date Marina in place, Reece said, would be beneficial to visitors and the city.

“It would serve a great purpose,” he said.