Council takes a position on river closure

Published 10:57 pm Tuesday, September 25, 2012

After the announcement by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to close the Alabama River locks and dams to traffic and limit the level of service to commercial traffic to appointment only, the Selma City Council put in their two cents.

On Tuesday at their regular council meeting, Mayor George Evans proposed a resolution to proclaim the city’s stance on the recent announcement. The five council people in attendance all voted in favor of the resolution with no discussion.

“On behalf of the city government we wanted to put in a resolution in opposition to what is happening down there on this river here in Selma,” Evans said.

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He explained that the closure of the river to recreational traffic and level of service change for commercial traffic had the potential to be damaging to the city, its tourism and economy.

“The availability of a barge has the potential to benefit the region,” Evans said. “In the past year there have been inquiries from business prospects as well as from new firms already located in the area, such as Zilkha Biomass Industry, regarding the use of barges to transport their products to the Port of Mobile.”

He said that this new level of service could be damaging to the recruitment of new industries that were looking to locate to the region and use barges to transport their commodities and products. Evans also spoke about how the Alabama River closure to recreational traffic would interfere with a push for recreational tourism in Selma.

“As of July 2012, the 631 mile Alabama Scenic River Trail, which begins in the Coosa River at the Alabama-Georgia border and goes down to Mobile Bay, was designated as a national trail by the National Park Service for the purpose of connecting people to the outdoors,” Evans said. “It also could support the conservation of our scenic rivers and support tourism and the economy.”