The city of Anniston will hold two public meetings Thursday for members of the community to provide input on Freedom Riders National Monument.
The meetings are part of the city’s effort to figure out what infrastructure changes will be needed to support visitors to the monument, which consists of a former bus station downtown and a site west of the city on Alabama 202 where a mob burned a bus in 1961.
The bus was carrying civil rights demonstrators known as Freedom Riders, and the attack was a major event of the civil rights movement. President Barack Obama declared the sites a national monument in 2017, and the National Park Service is working to develop them for visitors.
John Gardner is a senior transportation planner for J.R. Wilburn and Associates, a consulting firm hired by the city to study infrastructure needs. He said the firm would like to see any historic photos of sites on the city’s Civil Rights Trail and of other significant sites.
“We would be interested in just seeing those photographs from the late ’50s and ’60s,” Gardner said.
Gardner said the firm has identified some basic improvements that need to be made around the monument site and would like to hear from the community about the best ways to make those improvements.
“We know that a lot of the folks that will be interested in it are the ones that had a part in it,” Gardner said. “That was back in the ’60s, so we’re likely to have paramount people with mobility issues so we want to make sure the trail is accessible.”
The meetings will begin with a short presentation followed by questions and comments. The first meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at Anniston City Hall followed by the second at 7:30 p.m.