Talks held on restoring homes in historic district

Published 1:15 pm Saturday, January 7, 2017

Selma City Councilwoman Miah Jackson’s ward, Ward 3, includes all four of Selma’s historic districts, and that’s why she wants to make sure the city is doing the best it can to preserve and restore the homes and buildings that make up those districts.

Jackson met with the Selma Historic Development Commission Thursday to get an idea on how the city can work with the commission to help restore many of the once beautiful homes to what they once were.

“I’m really interested in collaborating with them to bring about the necessary change and influence to the historic area,” Jackson said. “It’s vitally important that this area is kept and that the historic commission has an influence because it is an attractive tourism area, and we want to make sure that we put our best foot forward.”

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Selma’s four historic districts are Old Town, which is the largest, Ice House, Riverview and Water Avenue.

The four districts combined make up one of the state’s largest historic districts, and Jackson wants to make it one of the nicest as well.

“We’re already looking at the budget to try to get some things in place that will ensure that this area is one of the nicest in the state,” she said. “I know that Selma has one of the largest historic areas in the state of Alabama … and it is just important that we keep it up and maintain and restore it back to its wonderful elegance that it once had.”

During the meeting, the commission shared some of the issues they have had enforcing the historic ordinance in Selma that requires owners of historic homes to adhere to specific guidelines.

Some of the issues commission members discussed were code enforcement, owners demolishing property by neglect and fine enforcement.

They also discussed a court docket that would handle violations of the historic ordinance to make sure people are following the law and maintaining their historic properties.

“One of the things we were talking about was the historic court, and so that is something I’m going to get with Warren Hinson that’s already a part of the community development along with the mayor and the judicial department to determine if we could develop that,” Jackson said. “The mechanism is already in place. We just need a separate docket to ensure that they’re not being lost in the hundreds of misdemeanor calls, complaints and traffic citations.”

With one meeting with the commission under her belt, Jackson said she looks forward to continue working with the commission to make all four of Selma’s historic districts a tourist attraction.

“I will continue meeting with them and collaborating with them to ensure that we’re not demolishing homes that we could possibly preserve and we’re not losing the history that is so enriched here,” Jackson said.

“I know often times we look at things, and if they’re old, we declare them no longer good, but that’s not what we want to do here in this historic area. We want to make sure that we preserve and restore.”

The commission meets the first and third Thursday of each month at 4 p.m. in the city council chambers.