Council to hold public hearing on street renaming

Published 9:47 pm Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lapsley Street’s renaming was put on hold Tuesday after the Selma City Council voted to have a public hearing on the matter.

The council initially voted, 6-3, against renaming Lapsley for the Boynton family. Immediately after, a second vote passed, by an identical vote count, to hold a public hearing. The council didn’t set a date for the hearing during the meeting.

Though she was initially against it, Councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw, who proposed the renaming, said she welcomes a public hearing as long as attendees are residents of Lapsley Street.

“Just make sure you have enough people on hand,” Crenshaw said during the meeting. “Otherwise, you are just going to come back and do what you want.”

Selma residents — including the Boynton family and a select few residents of Lapsley Street — packed the city council chambers to hear the decision, discussed during city attorney Jimmy Nunn’s report.

Nunn began by reading the proposed resolution for the renaming, which largely recapped Amelia Boynton’s life and civil rights efforts. At the end, the resolution stated that, upon passage, it would rename the entirety of Lapsley Street — from R.B. Hudson School to the Alabama River.

Council members debated the resolution back and forth for nearly 30 minutes.

A portion of discussion focused on whether the renaming was exempt from a public hearing procedure. Crenshaw quoted minutes from a 2009 meeting that said the council voted to exempt the Boynton family.

Councilman Cecil Williamson countered that Crenshaw’s proposal during the 2009 vote was to rename a specific portion of Lapsley — from J.L. Chestnut Boulevard to Highland Avenue.

“This is a totally different thing than grandfathering in,” Williamson said. “This is a new proposal and should come under the rules and procedures that are in place.”

During discussion, councilman Greg Bjelke said the renaming was being pushed through without any input from residents.

“I feel like this is being railroaded through,” Bjelke said. “I have lived on Lapsley Street for more than 20 years and many people are in opposition to this.”

After discussion, Crenshaw made a motion for the renaming of Lapsley, in its entirety. Councilman Michael Johnson seconded it.

Crenshaw initially voted in favor of her motion, but later changed her vote. By changing her vote against the proposal, she can bring it up at future council meetings.

In other news from Tuesday’s meeting:

  • 4The council voted to proceed with the purchase of two fire trucks for the Selma Fire Department at a cost of about $160,000 per year, funded through the half-cent sales tax.

After the meeting, Fire Chief Mike Stokes said cost estimates are high. If costs change, Stokes said the trucks would likely cost less.

Next, the fire department will develop a list of specifications for the trucks.Stokes said the trucks should arrive in Selma in eight to nine months.