City leaders to travel to Chattanooga to try to learn how they can improve Selma

Published 9:54 pm Tuesday, July 28, 2015

City leaders are looking to our north for advice on how to improve Selma’s economy and downtown.

Representatives from the Selma and Dallas County Chamber of Commerce, the Selma City Council, Arsenal Place Accelerator, ArtsRevive and others are making a trip to Chattanooga, Tenn. Thursday to see how that city has succeeded in areas where Selma could use some improvement.

Sheryl Smedley, executive director of the chamber, said she’s interested in seeing how Chattanooga’s business incubator has thrived. Since its launch in 2014, Selma’s Arsenal Place has housed many businesses, but there’s always room for growth.

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Smedley also was interested in finding out how public and private partnerships worked together with the local government in Chattanooga to achieve the city’s economic goals.

That kind of communication is a tough challenge for any city, whether it’s the size of Chattanooga or the size of Selma. It’s also already been recognized as a way where Selma can improve.

Earlier this year, Main Street Alabama — a nonprofit organization focused on revitalizing downtown areas — evaluated Selma.  Among some of the early findings divulged was that many were trying to do great things in Selma, but there was no communication point between many of those organizations.

Maybe Chattanooga, a much larger city, can help in that area. More than likely, there’s a lot both cities can learn from one another.

Both are known for their tourism and have a major river system running through their city limits. But, unlike Selma, Chattanooga sits at the meeting point of three interstate systems, a luxury Selma doesn’t have. However, there’s still plenty of room for growth in Selma and our city leaders are doing their best to try to find ways where the Queen City of the Black Belt can make improvements. They deserve credit for that. We’re looking forward to hearing the findings from their trip to Chattanooga.