Project Selma's inaugural meeting July 29 brought together city staff, Rotary Club members, Selma Unified, Selma City Council members and other motivated Selmans in an effort to brainstorm ideas to make Selma better.

The goal of the meeting was to set a community goals list and then find people willing to participate. Selma resident and Project Selma organizer Louis Franco led the meeting and asked around 30 participants for ideas to improve Selma.

Some of the ideas: Improving Team Selma, building a civic center or community center, working on trails for biking and walking, the animal shelter, restarting a Selma Unified foundation for teachers and upgrading the city's beautification efforts.

The meeting was held in the Selma City Council chambers.

Franco noted that not all projects cost money. He also said that not all projects might come to fruition.

"We're not going to impose but if an organization doesn't want help, we'll move on to the next one," said Franco.

Many of the Project Selma participants spoke strongly of a community center.

Selma Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cindy Howell said the city needs to provide more activities for kids — and a place to do it.

"I have people calling every day," said Howell. "People want something to do for our kids. We need a place for them to go. Something for kids to do is huge."

Howell noted that the skate park has moved most of the skaters out of downtown, but she said Selma needs more venues like the skate park.

Selma Mayor Dennis Lujan applauded Franco's efforts.

"It was a think tank that got the senior center and it was a think tank that got Shafer Park," he said. "There's going to be something good that's going to come of this, maybe something we're not even thinking about."

Franco provided orange suggestion sheets for the participants to put their ideas on.

"If we turn a dream into a goal, and then we accomplish a goal, we basically made a dream come true," Franco said. "It might take four years, it might take five years, it might take six months."

Franco said he planned to collect all the suggestions and the participant list and talk to each one to find out what each person believed is important for Selma.

"It's not just grapes and athletics here," he said.

In the back of the chamber Franco put up a hand-drawn poster of what Selma would look like in 2023. The poster was created in 1998 and includes ideas such as a skate park, facilities for youth to socialize and contribute to the community, an amphitheater, retirement center and better streets. There are around 50 goals on the poster, some of which have been accomplished.

Franco included a picture of the poster with each of the suggestion sheets.

"I have high expectations," Franco said. "Project Selma is for us to say as citizens, this is what we want."

The next Project Selma meeting has not been scheduled, but Franco said he plans to have two or three per year. He said he might have "another meeting in a month or two."

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