SELMA, AL (WSFA) - This year's festivities are over, but the work is just getting started for a milestone celebration.
We're talking about the preparations for the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma.
Is 11 months enough time to make the necessary upgrades and repairs desperately needed in this historic city?
The Edmund Pettus Bridge is the gateway to historic Selma. It leads through downtown into the neighborhoods.
Underneath the bridge, in the Songs for Selma Park, there's trash. Near the bridge there are dilapidated buildings and other deplorable conditions.
Evans says the eyesores will be cleaned up or replaced with landscaping before the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.
"Either it will be greenery or not there at all," Selma Mayor George Evans said. "We only get one chance and the 50th is it. We just want to improve on, add to and make things better."
The mayor says that includes resurfacing Water Avenue, upgrades to the Saint James Hotel and restoration for several buildings as well as big plans for other landmarks in downtown like the Interpretive Center.
"We have two floors that haven't been developed yet and a basement and buildings in this block we are going to restore and do things with before the 50th. We plan to do a lot of things with the Amphitheater in that park down there. We hope to have entertainment there next year. We're trying to work to get up to par in the neighborhoods, sidewalks, sewer problems we are having; all these things are part of getting ready for the 50th. This is Selma's time to show-up and do a good job," Evans said.
As far as the restoration of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, Evans says ALDOT will be performing some work on the bridge in the near future.
The mayor says funds for the 50th anniversary will come from the state tourism department.
He says applications are in the works for federal funding.