City urged not to forget small park in its plans

Published 7:02 pm Tuesday, October 8, 2013

In a recent editorial, we applauded the city of Selma for their role in helping land a significant grant to aesthetically upgrade the western side of Water Avenue. As Selma Mayor George Evans has said repeatedly in the past, Water Avenue can become a thriving entertainment district with investments such as the aforementioned grant — something we agree with.

There is, however, one glaring problem that we hope will be addressed as part of this project, or in conjunction with it, and that is the current situation at Bienville Park. The park is home to a monument that marks the first recorded name of the area now known as Selma — Ecor Bienville.

Selma is known around the world for its history, and this monument, and the park it resides in, is an integral part of our story. Recently the monument had to be relocated because a section of the park, nearest the Alabama River, is sloughing off toward the river, with the brick wall that circles the park crumbling and the sidewalk nearest the river now a safety hazard to be avoided.

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When the monument was relocated, Greg Bjelke, Selma City Councilman for Ward 3, estimated the total cost of the project — to create the foundation and move the giant stone — would be nearly $2,000. Those funds came from donations from the Colonial Dames, the group who originally placed the monument in Bienville Park in 1932, and from the Selma Garden Club. The collaboration was a good example of private funds being used to solve a public concern.

Since the monument’s relocation the park has continued to deteriorate and nothing has been done to alleviate the problem. It’s also concerning that a remedy to the situation has not been discussed by the city council.

With work soon to commence on dressing up the western side of Water Avenue, it is our hope the city will include resolution of this problem in their plans.