Jubilee set to start Thursday after fee dispute

Published 7:50 pm Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Organizers of the Bridge Crossing Jubilee said Monday during a press conference if the city charged for services during Sunday’s march, those costs would need to be billed to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, who sponsors the march.

Selma Mayor Darrio Melton said Tuesday there are no charges for the actual march across the bridge.

“As we’ve said all along, we’re not trying to stop anyone from marching on Sunday, and we’re actually planning to have things in place for the march to take place,” Melton said. “There is not a charge for the march at all.”

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Melton said the fees the city was asking the Jubilee for were strictly for events from Thursday through Saturday and any events on Sunday outside of the march.

“That was never part of the conversation,” Melton said. “The conversation was about Thursday, Friday and Saturday.”

The city originally asked for $35,000 to cover the costs of police, fire and clean up services. That cost was eventually negotiated down to $17,000 but organizers rejected the city’s offer.

Melton confirmed the Selma Police Department would provide security during the march.

“There will be police services for the march itself given the volume of people that will be marching,” he said. “That’s one thing we’re going to do because people come here to march across the bridge like they do every day. Members of Congress will be here also to go across the bridge, and just like the service we provide for them, we’ll provide for the march itself.”

Organizers announced Tuesday the music festival that is normally on Water Avenue has been moved across the Edmund Pettus Bridge to private property, which according to property records is owned by the National Voting Rights Museum and the Sanders Toure Gaines Family Foundation.

Sam Walker, one of the organizers of the Jubilee, said U.S. Highway 80 would not be blocked off. He said vendors and two stages for musical performers would be located on property from the Voting Rights Monument at the foot of the bridge down to an open area near the Selma Curb Market.

Walker said as of Tuesday, the access road just off U.S. Highway 80 would not be closed, but that could change in the next few days.

“At this time we haven’t planned to use that, but it is probably going to be closed,” Walker said. “We’re trying to get it closed, but we haven’t gotten it closed yet.”

Public Communication Officer Tammy Davidson with the Alabama Department of Public Safety said the department has not been notified of any road closures as of Tuesday.

“We’ve gotten no information on the details as of yet,” Davidson said.

U.S. Highway 80 is mandated by the state, but it is unclear whether the city or state controls the access road on both sides of the highway.

Alabama State Trooper Reginal King said troopers would provide services on the Selmont side of the bridge during Saturday and Sunday’s festivities.