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Riverwalk, Cole Street name change headline Selma City Council meeting

Fixing part of the structure at Riverwalk Park headlined Tuesday’s Selma City Council meeting at City Hall.

City Planning Director Henry Thompson and Hogg-Stone Associate (HSA) Engineer brought the concerns of replacing the underground drainage structure to the property.

Their discussion ended with the city council approved to start Phase 1, which includes a contract opportunity to get started immediately. The $15,200 will come out of the city’s special project fund.

Hogg, who’s been a city engineer for 40 years, also said there’s a wire dangling and the lights must be replaced and put back up. He said it will cost between $100,000 and $200,000 to repair the issues.

City Treasurer Ronita Wade said a portion of the amount will come from the gas tax.

Councilman Michael Johnson said he hopes the repairs will be completed by the time annual Jubliee event starts next month.

The city council also approved to look into changing the name of Cole Street to Tate Street in honor of former Selma Police Department (SPD) Chief Earnest L. Tate, the city’s first black police chief.

Martin Chance voiced opposition at City Council’s work session on Monday. Chance said attempting to change the name of Cole Street, whose namesake is unknown, would be a violation of state law that carries a $25,000 fine.

A bill passed by the Alabama Legislature in 2017, the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act, forbids any effort to move or rename historically-significant buildings and monuments that date back 40 years or longer.

New city attorney Major Madison said he didn’t know who can determine the name change, but councilman John Leashore urged the council to move forward with attempting to make the change.

The city council is also taking applications for a vacant Municipal Judge position, with Madison becoming the city attorney.

Anyone interested in the position should contact Council President Corey Bowie at coreybowie2012@gmail.com.

Selma City Schools Superintendent Dr. Avis Williams also spoke at the council meeting and invited council members for a tour of the city schools.