Edmund_Pettus_Bridge_wikimedia image

Edmund Pettus Bridge. Image from commons.wikimedia.org/Carol M. Highsmith.

Blackbelt Benefit Group and the City of Selma will hold a cleanup and beautification of the Selma to Montgomery Byway on Saturday, Sept. 25. 

Titled "Love Our Byways" the cleanup will take place at downtown stretch of the 54-mile Selma to Montgomery March Byway from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. 

The event is sponsored Toyota Motor North America, the National Scenic Byway Foundation, and the American Park Network. 

Those who are interested in volunteering can call 334-327-3300 or email preservation@selma-al.gov

Blackbelt Benefit Group (BBG) received a Love Our Byways grant for a beautification project along Selma’s downtown stretch of the 54-mile Selma to Montgomery March Byway. BBG was awarded a $2,000 micro-grant in support of the project. BBG is one of only 25 organizations nationwide to receive the grant.

The main event will be focused at the intersection of Broad Street and Water Avenue, including the improvement of flower beds on either side of the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Additional clean-up activities will occur along Broad Street heading toward Alabama Avenue and along Water Avenue. 

"This is another great example of what can happen through community partnerships. We are together," stated James Perkins Jr., Mayor of Selma.

“When I first heard of this grant opportunity, I began researching local organizations that might be up for the task,” says Rachel Metcalf, Preservation & Development Coordinator for the City of Selma. “I contacted Blackbelt Benefit Group to apply because of the great work they’ve done and continue to do in the community.”

We are excited to be able to continue our mission and bring some revitalization to a portion of the Blackbelt,” says Blackbelt Benefit Group’s President, Josh Wilkerson. “COVID-19 and the resulting limit on large gatherings has really required us to find alternative ways to fulfill our mission. We feel like this beautification project is a great opportunity for the community to safely come together with the common goal of helping to make the Blackbelt a place that everyone is proud to call home.”

This project will enhance and beautify the portion of the Selma to Montgomery March Byway that runs through downtown Selma. The route was first designated in 1996 as a National Scenic Byway and a National Historic Trail. Today, it is one of four National Scenic Byways in the state of Alabama, and it is recognized as an All-American Road by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. The byway commemorates the nation-changing 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery that resulted in the passage of the Voting Rights Act and equal voting rights for all American citizens, regardless of race.

BBG and the City of Selma are looking for volunteers to help with this beautification project. Individuals and groups willing to roll up their sleeves and help are encouraged to contact preservation@selma-al.gov or 334-327-3300.

The health and safety of BBG’s patrons and artists is extremely important to the organization. The organization is encouraging the use of masks, maintaining a distance of six feet between guests, and frequent hand sanitizing to ensure that the event is safe for all community members.

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