Work to start on river walk

Published 10:05 pm Thursday, June 30, 2016

An ADECA grant will help build a riverwalk downtown near the St. James Hotel.

An ADECA grant will help build a riverwalk downtown near the St. James Hotel.

The city of Selma is looking to highlight the Alabama River’s scenic views through a riverwalk.

Within the next 50-60 days, the city hopes to begin its first phase of a three-phase project to construct a river walk that will extend from the Old Bridge Tenders House to Riverfront Park.

The walk will also include an observation deck located between the St. James Hotel and the Side Porch Café.

“A lot of cities would love to have a river running right through it,” said Mayor George Evans. “We’ve been blessed to have a river.”

Evans believes the river walk will provide an additional activity for residents, to attract tourists dollars to the city and contribute to the city’s aesthetics. The project is expected to cost $500,000 to construct, according to Evans. He said the project is funded by a grant through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA).

“This is money that the city has put up. This is money that the city has applied for,” Evans said.

Every year, ADECA awards hundreds of millions of dollars to cities, counties, nonprofits and others throughout Alabama, according to adeca.alabama.gov. The grants help fund economic development projects, infrastructure improvements, job training, law enforcement and other needs.

Evans believes the river walk could be a stepping-stone for many projects and envisions the walk oneday extending all the way down to the marina.

“There are so many pieces to the puzzle,” Evans said. “This is just once piece.”

Right now, when exactly the project will begin and how long it will take is not clear.

Evans said the next step is to conduct the project bid. Afterward, the rate of construction will depend on varying factors such as weather and other potential delays. But if all goes smoothly, Evans said the project should take approximately six months to complete.