Selmont residents discuss forming citizens committee

Published 9:10 pm Thursday, June 26, 2014

A community meeting Thursday evening in Selmont was full of meaningful topics and lively conversations. The only thing missing was the large crowd Dallas County Commissioner Connel Towns hoped for when he planned the event.

“I think it was a very successful meeting,” Towns said. “I think the turnout was about what we should expect for a first meeting, but we want to get the word out to the community about the issues we are facing in this community. We want more people to know about these issues and know what they can do to change things around here.”

A crowd of 26 concerned Selmont residents, many of whom arrived after the scheduled 6 p.m. start time, attended the meeting at New Selmont Baptist Church.

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A variety of topics were discussed throughout the meeting, including complaints about a lack of law enforcement protection in Selmont, the potential opening of a nightclub in the community in the near future, the degraded state of Old Montgomery Highway, the number of abandoned houses in the area, as well as the potential for the community to be annexed into Selma or incorporate itself to form a new city.

Throughout the meeting, Towns said it was the responsibility of the community’s residents to tell their elected officials about their concerns and work with them to find solutions.

“We in this community can do a whole lot if we just come together,” Towns said. “We’ve got to stand up and speak out against what we know is going on.”

While Towns had scheduled the meeting weeks in advance, many said they had only heard about in the hours before it began. With that in mind, Pastor David Perry of New Selmont Baptist Church suggested the formation of a concerned citizens committee.

Perry said the job of committee members would be to alert others in their neighborhoods about the issues affecting their communities, as well as the dates and times of pertinent public meetings where those issues would be discussed.

“We need to get the word out. We need to be a unified body,” Perry said. “We should come together with one accord and we address these issues. We’ve got a lot of smart people in this room right now, educated people who can make things happen. We might as well use our greatest resource, which is each other, and make it better.”

Towns said several community members would be selected for the committee during the next community meeting, which is scheduled to take place Thursday, July 24 at 6 p.m. at New Selmont Baptist Church.

According to Towns, the number of residents who will serve on the community committee would be decided during the July 24 meeting.

Perry said he believed Thursday’s meeting, and the founding of the committee, could be start of something great in Selmont.

“Hopefully, as we continue to come together as a community, we can get these issues solved,” Perry said. “What I want to see is a family-oriented community here. We’ve already got a lot of opportunity here.”