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Chamber of Commerce to lead walking tours throughout April

By Oniska Blevins | The Selma Times-Journal

Tourists and community members in downtown areas throughout Alabama will hit the streets this April for the Alabama State Tourism Department’s April Walking Tours.

Community leaders will guide free tours through the historic districts or courthouse square areas of their hometowns. The tours are one hour and start at 10 a.m. each day. The days of the tour are April 7, 14 and 21.

Sheryl Smedley, executive director for the Selma and Dallas County Chamber of Commerce, said these tours allow people to see the beauty of their prospective areas while also networking in the process. She said one of the main goals is for both visitors and community members to gain community awareness while getting a little much needed exercise.

“It’s a great way to connect with people,” she said.

Smedley and destination and marketing coordinator for the Selma Dallas County Chamber Charise Clay will lead the group on the tour while giving a brief history on each of the sites and buildings.

She said although mostly tourists usually join the walk, in the past local community members joined in on the effort and shared historic information to the group.

“You get to learn more about your community and help promote it in a positive light,” she said.

Some of the stops during the tour will include Selma City Hall, Broad Street on Dallas Avenue and recognition of the historic churches downtown.

Brian S. Jones, public relations personnel for the Alabama State Tourism Department said 30 cities across the state are participating in the tours. He said it is a good way to introduce people to what the city has to offer.

“These walking tours are a great way to get out and enjoy the spring weather and find out about the history of our state,” he said. “More than 35,000 people have participated in the walking tours since the beginning of the program 15 years ago, and the tours keep increasing in popularity every year.”

These tours are not only for tourists, but for locals as well. According to Jones, these tours brings about a new appreciation for local residents.

“Even if you live in an area, sometimes you forget about the treasures that’s right there where you live,” he said.

The Selma tour will start at the Selma-Dallas County Public Library, travel throughout downtown highlighting different historic buildings and end back at the library.