LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Visitor shares ideas to better Selma

Published 9:47 pm Monday, July 24, 2017

Dear Editor,

I am a licensed land surveyor in California and Nevada. The company I worked for specializes in Class A construction and quality control surveying.

We helped to build several large museums and many theaters and entertainment and shopping projects in Los Angeles.

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I recently retired and was in Selma last weekend to look at real estate.

I have been to Selma twice before and wanted to see what it was like in summer. Before I left to return home, I picked up The Selma Times Journal and last night saw the article (July 16, 2017) about the Authority needing a director. I wanted to share my thoughts about Selma.

1.) The downtown does not have a formal town square and needs a park with a gazebo.
2.) Lack of foot traffic in the downtown on the weekend and not many businesses open for the few tourists that were in town.
3) Internet speeds at the hotel and mobile data were painfully slow. Town needs its own high speed data center.
4) The Voting Rights Museum and the Old Depot Museum were not open, and the New
Voting Rights Museum is not in the old downtown.
5) Street sculpture (painted butterflies seen on previous trip) were gone.
6) There was no tour trolley or river boat tour.
7) There was no jazz or blues club, and I did not see any street musicians.
8) The hotels are at the far west end of town.  There is room for more hotels on the south side of the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
9) Art gallery was not open. Although Selma has some fine artists.
10) The organic food restaurant on the south side of Water Avenue had excellent smoothies, kale salad and the dressing was the best. This restaurant needs to be preserved and if possible expanded with sidewalk seating under a canopy.
11) Water Avenue could be made a pedestrian only area on the block west and two blocks east of Broad Street on the weekends. Build a three up and one level down parking structure at the southwest corner of Alabama Avenue and Church Street to replace the parking.
12) Use Water Avenue pedestrian area for a farmers market and bazaar on Saturdays.
13) A traditional soul food buffet would also be a great asset to the downtown. Something like Aunt Kizzy’s Backporch, Marina Del Rey.

I also did a little research on Selma’s demographics which shows that the population is decreasing. This indicates that property values will not increase if there is not enough demand.

One possible solution to this is to actively pursue selective immigration and international investment.

I see Selma as a microcosm of what is happening in the U.S. today. Deep political and social divisions and not enough jobs for our own impoverished people.

Michael Anderson