We must get serious about infrastructure

Published 11:28 pm Monday, February 10, 2014

Tuesday evening, the Selma City Council will sit down together, go over a few agenda items, listen to the mayor’s report, shoot a few jabs back and forth between each other and then call it an evening.

To those attending the meeting in person and to those listening on radio, it will sound like a lot was accomplished, but we’re beginning to have our doubts.

There will be continued debate over the politically-fueled discussion on the city’s health care package for employees. There will be needless talk about the council’s discretionary spending.

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But, what you might be surprised to hear — as would we if it happened — would be a serious and detailed discussion on the mounting infrastructure disaster the city of Selma is potentially facing.

And, we say potentially, because there has been so little talk about the need for a comprehensive review of the city’s infrastructure that we would be beyond amazed if infrastructure was talked about at all during Tuesday’s meeting.

For far too long, the city of Selma has played a game of infrastructure whack-a-mole; moving from one disaster to another. Today, in addition to missing storm drain covers, what was once a pretty respite on Water Avenue overlooking the Alabama River — Bienville Park — sits in near ruins thanks to a sinkhole.

Work has appeared to be stagnant at the site for days, even after the council moved to approve needed repairs.

There is no argument the city of Selma is an old city, rather it is more politically correct to say Selma is a historic city. In fact, it is a historic city with historic problems.

The infrastructure beneath the city streets, long ignored by previous city administrations, is beginning to show its age. Sidewalks have developed cracks and potholes that have been patched and repatched are in desperate need of fundamental repair.

The problem is not that we have problems. The problem is not that we don’t know of the problems.

We do.

Nor is the main problem the fact the city of Selma does not nearly have enough money to make all the needed repairs.

It doesn’t.

The single largest problem our city faces when it comes to infrastructure is that no one is talking about our infrastructure problems and no one appears to be planning to fix it.

We call on our mayor and our council to begin placing a laser focus on the city’s infrastructure, its streets and its basic services.

Without these fundamental problems solved, our city cannot effectively grow.