Band festival just another example

Published 10:27 pm Monday, October 22, 2012

During the recent municipal election cycle there were those who criticized the passage, implementation and long-term cost of the 2009 bond issue. In it, the city was able to pave streets, participate in a yet-to-be completed public-private partnership to bring back the Selma Marina, refurbish both Bloch Park and Memorial Stadium, among other projects.

We have taken to this space often and offered both our initial support for the bond issue and applauded the results of the money spent. While there have been hiccups, such as the delay in the Marina project and the ongoing problems with the garbage service, the work at Bloch Park and Memorial Stadium was exquisite and has proven to be a bigger asset than most could have imagined.

In addition to being the home stadium to Ellwood Christian Academy and Selma High School, as well as Concordia College, the stadium also hosts the annual Alabama Independent School Association’s state track meet and is now home to the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s state track meet for class 1A through 3A.

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The track meets see thousands of visitors walk through the ticket gates and the weekly events see hundreds or area fans cheering their favorite teams.

Add to that the weekly youth football games and Memorial Stadium — during the fall — is one of the busiest venues in the Black Belt.

This Saturday, hundreds more flocked to the stadium as Selma High School hosted a band festival that attracted bands from throughout west Alabama.

Early next year, as baseball returns, the lights of Bloch Park will be kicked on to welcome area high school, college and recreational baseball teams and leagues.

Do the facilities pay for themselves? Individually, probably not. But the visitors who come to town to see their teams and athletes compete, bring with them money for lunch, gas and at times, hotel accommodations.

It is without a doubt Selma voters made the right decision when they approved the bond measure and city leaders made the right choice when they decided to invest in the future of Bloch Park and Memorial Stadium.