Selma City council rejects Brown YMCA Restoration again

Published 8:47 am Thursday, June 30, 2022

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For the second time in a month, the Selma City Council rejected an opportunity to restore the old Claude C. Brown YMCA building.

The council vote was 5-1-1 at Tuesday night’s city council meeting.

Council members Clay Carmichael, Troy Harvill, Christie Thomas and Jannie Thomas voted no. Councilman Atkin Jemison initially voted yes, but changed his vote. Councilman Michael Johnson voted yes.

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Council President Billy Young abstained because he was a former board member of the YMCA.

Council members Sam Randolph and Lesia James were absent.

The topic came up again when Cynthia Perkins, wife of Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. asked the city council to reconsider their vote during a Citizens’ Concern session of the council meeting. 

“The Brown YMCA is near to my heart and Mayor Perkins’ heart,” Perkins said. “As the First Lady of Selma, I asked the Mayor, ‘Should I come before the city council?’ He said, ‘Go for it.’”

Perkins apologized to the city council for thinking they had a vision to restore the building for the Queen City’s youth. She said the city council had a vendetta against her husband.

“What I’m seeing and feeling is very disturbing,” Perkins said. “I don’t want or need a building, but the young people in Selma need the same choices we had.”

Perkins said she had over 500 signed petitions. The building can be purchased for $1 and the Selma Housing Authority is offering to buy it. The YMCA owns the building.

Jemison asked his council mates to give people a chance to restore the YMCA. Johnson said he’s working on funds to restore the YMCA.

Councilwomen Jannie Thomas and Christie Thomas said they’d like for a board member to speak before the council and discuss the issue.