Y building saved?

Published 6:30 pm Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Officials with the Selma-Dallas County Historical Preservation Society announced Tuesday they had a contract in place to purchase the old YMCA building on Broad Street from current owner Tom Bolton. -- Rick Couch

While the final T’s have not been crossed and the remaining I’s have not been dotted, it appears the old YMCA has received what some might call a stay of execution, thanks to a pending sale of the building to the Selma-Dallas County Historic Preservation Society, Inc.

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Selma City Council — a meeting where the fate of the building could have been ultimately decided — Society president Nancy Bennett announced her organization and building owner Tom Bolton had reached an agreement on the purchase of the building.

The terms of the agreement were not made available, but Bennett said there are three contingencies that must be worked out before the two parties can close on the sale in the coming days.

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“First, the First Baptist Church has the first right of refusal on the sale of this property and we have submitted a letter to them asking they waive that right,” Bennett said. “Secondly, we have sent them an additional letter asking permission to have some access to their property for equipment needed to stabilize the building. And, the third is that we are working now to acquire liability insurance at a reasonable rate.”

Bennett said if those remaining items can be worked out, the two parties can close on the sale and the Society can begin work on stabilizing the deteriorating, historic building in downtown Selma.

“Part of the agreement is that we will begin work on the building within 90 days,” Bennett said in comments offered to Buddy Swift, the owner of Swift Drugs, the building right next to the old YMCA building. “But trust me, Buddy when I say, it won’t be no 90 days. We will begin work a lot sooner.”

Swift, who continues to be concerned at how long this process has taken, remains nervous about the crumbling building next door and hopes something can be done, and done quickly to stabilize the structure.

“I just hope that I am not hung out to dry,” Swift said. “I will be supportive if they are able to stabilize the building. But, I remain concerned and my worry remains — and that is for the safety of my people.”