News

DesignPlace Selma Plan Unveiled

February 27, 2020

Selma is embarking on a plan to honor its past and embrace its future with the help of DesignPlace. This DesignAlabama program partners Alabama communities with a design team whose goal is to help the community enhance its assets.

The latest DesignPlace participant, Selma is a town that holds an important place in civil rights history and its central Alabama location makes it well positioned for growth. The DesignPlace team recently completed its report to revitalize downtown Selma based on community input.

The plan calls for a more walkable and bicycle-friendly downtown, a wayfinding system to boost tourism, adaptive-reuse of downtown buildings, redevelop the riverfront and historic neighborhoods while keeping their character intact, along with community branding and identity.

Citizen enthusiasm in high, yet a realistic approach to such a comprehensive plan is to start with “the low-hanging fruit,” notes Juanda Maxwell, chair of the Selma Redevelopment Authority. To complete high impact though relatively affordable projects early on. Those that are cost-effective, but will create positive momentum and lead to additional projects.

One such project is façade enhancement on Water Avenue and the first block of Broad Street. Maxwell says some funding is available to help property owners with the cost of façade improvement. Also identified as a project that can be done affordably early on is improving undermaintained small green spaces located downtown.

Another simple but high impact improvement is painting the side of a building near the foot of the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge that creates an unsightly “big blank wall,” Maxwell observes. She points out that this side of the building could be painted temporarily until a more lasting solution is found to make a more positive impression as residents and visitors travel over the bridge.

Maxwell is most excited about Selma’s new branding campaign. One that will showcase all that Selma has to offer – as a historically significant site for equality and democracy to becoming a highly livable community and center of technology in Alabama’s Blackbelt region.
“We’re so excited and the response from the community has been overwhelming,” says Maxwell. “We now have to sit down and prioritize the plan and hold additional meetings to start looking at what we can do and how we can do it.”

 

 

Image 1 and 2- DesignPlace Selma calls for a more walkable and bicycle-friendly downtown, a wayfinding system, adaptive-reuse of downtown buildings, redevelop the riverfront and historic neighborhoods, and community branding and identity. These images are the current and proposed changes to buildings on Broad Street.

Image 3 and 4- Citizen enthusiasm in high, yet a realistic approach to such a comprehensive plan is to start with the most affordable improvements and build from there. These images are additional current images and proposed changes to Broad Street.

Image 5- Selma is embarking on a plan to honor its past and embrace its future with the help of DesignAlabama’s DesignPlace. This proposed development is on Selma Avenue between Broad and Lauderdale.

Image 6- Selma holds an important place in civil rights history and its central Alabama location makes it well positioned for growth. The DesignPlace team recently completed its report to revitalize downtown Selma based on community input.

 

*Article Written By Jessica Armstrong and Images Courtesy of  Roman Gary, Jason Fondren and DesignAlabama, Inc.