City, police pleased with celebration

Published 9:15 pm Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A renovated Memorial Stadium played host to possibly its largest crowd since renovation work began late last year Monday evening during Selma’s Fourth of July celebration.

With an estimated crowd of nearly 2,000 in the stadium and hundreds more standing in the parking lot trying to catch a view of the fireworks show, city officials were ecstatic at how the new facilities both handled the crowd and how well behaved the thousands in attendance acted.

“It was a packed house and everything went so well,” Selma Mayor George Evans said Wednesday. “Looking back on it, I’m not sure just how many we had there, but there would have been even more if there hadn’t been any rain earlier in the evening.”

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Selma Chief of Police William T. Riley said the department did not have to deal with any security issues at the event and that traffic flow, while congested after the show, flowed smoothly.

“Everyone paid attention and listened,” Riley said. “We were able to get everyone out of the stadium safely and relatively quickly without any problems.”

Riley said officers on the scene commented on how well the crowd dealt with the early rain that might have held down attendance.

As for the collaborative efforts by the city, the Dallas County Commission and the Selma-Dallas County Chamber of Commerce, who each shared in the cost of the event, Evans said he is excited about what this event can become and is “already looking forward to begin planning for next year.”

“This shows what we can accomplish when we join together and work together,” Evans said, noting that the city of Valley Grande and the town of Orrville also joined together in supporting the event.  “This is not just a Selma event, this was an event for Dallas County and it was a tremendous success.”

Other than getting better weather for next year’s event, Evans did say he would like to see one change.

“I would like to see if we can get a few more minutes in the show,” Evans said. “I mean, it was a great show and I don’t think anyone was ready to go home.

“It seemed everyone had a great time and maybe we can add a few more minutes.”