It’s time we stood up for the river

Published 1:05 am Saturday, September 29, 2012

The time gap is quickly closing in. As of Oct.7, the Alabama River will be closing its locks and dams to recreational traffic. It will be closing locks and dams to industry and opening them up by appointment only.

As U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions told officials from Selma and Dallas County this week, the Alabama River has so much potential for our area. It holds the key to unlocking our city to great industrial and tourism opportunities.

Selma Mayor Evans said while campaigning that Water Avenue is the Bourbon Street of Selma. And no he was not referring to wild nights and crazy times, he was speaking about the opportunities this street has to be a central location for all tourism in Selma.

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Water Avenue has a great view of the river, fun restaurants and great hotel and coming soon is an amphitheater.

The investment made by the city in the riverfront is not by accident. It is doing so because it understands how valuable the Alabama River is to the future of Selma’s growth. It would be nice if the Army Corps of Engineers would look to partner with the city and state to further enhance what the river can do rather than looking for quick cuts.

To those who say the river holds no potential for industry because industry does not currently use it — we say ‘not yet.’ Not many people use it now, but now that no one can go through the locks and dams without an appointment, we may never know what that river could have given us. We will never know how many industries could have located to the area because they were attracted to the idea of a route by water to Mobile Bay.

The Corps of Engineers is closing the locks, and they are pretty much throwing away the key. Now is the time for us to be selfish. The government is making cuts across the board to lower the deficit but we need to rise up and say ‘not us.’

This river has the potential to benefit us locally and then we can send those taxes back to Washington. This is not a river that is dead — but a river that is waiting to be taken advantage of.

But no one will know that Selma and Dallas County feel this way if we do not stand up and say so. Enough people have to make a clamor and raise a noise about what this river from the Georgia border on down to the Gulf means to us.

So today, we are encouraging you to write letters to the state’s Congressional delegation, telling them what needs to be done. Tell them why the Corps should keep these locks open before it is too late.

Below are the addresses for each member of Congress that represents us:

  • U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, 908 Alabama Avenue, Federal Building, Suite 112 Selma Alabama 36701
  • U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner, 2236 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515
  • U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, 401 Adams Avenue, Suite 160 Montgomery, AL 36104
  • U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, 7550 Halcyon Summit Drive Montgomery, AL 36117
  • U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, 2264 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515
  • U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, 1641 Longworth HOB Washington, DC 20515
  • U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus, 2246 Rayburn Building Washington, DC 20515
  • U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions, 326 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
  • U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, 304 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510