City receives grant to help spruce up Selma to Montgomery Trail

A section of the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail may soon be getting a facelift.  The City of Montgomery won a grant through the Greening America's Capitals project, which is run by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The city will use the grant to find ways to improve the streetscape for walking and biking, add trees and create better connections in the neighborhood, which is criss-crossed by major overpasses.  The grant covers the area from the intersection of Fairview Avenue and Oak Street, up Jefferson Davis Avenue to Holt Street, and eventually to the intersection of Mobile and Grady streets.

For Kimberly Shaver and Latricha Jenkins, sprucing up Oak Street could bring more customers to their hair salon.

"It's a good little business, but you can't get them to come in, because there's so much.  It's a lot of stuff you got to look at," Jenkins said.

Driving along Oak Street and other parts of the trail, there are abandoned buildings, overgrown lots, and business that haven't been open in decades.  City leaders said the grant could be the spark to attract tourists looking to experience the trail.

"But they want to do so in a pleasant environment and by adding a lush greenway and these vehicle and pedestrian amenities would be very positive," said Jeff Downes, Deputy Mayor for the City of Montgomery.

Jenkins said it will be important for the people who live and work in the area to be a part of the changes.

"It takes more than the government trying to get involved, it takes the community too," she said.

Downes said the city will host charettes and community meeting before coming up with a final plan.  The improvements would have to be funded at a later date.

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