Bibb County commissioners agreed Tuesday to name the countys three newest fire stations in honor of current Commissioners Bert Bivins and Joe Allen, as well as former Commissioner Elmo Richardson.
Commissioner Lonzy Edwards said the idea came to him Friday, when the county broke ground on the new Fire Station No. 111 at its Jeffersonville Road site. Edwards said he thought of Richardsons contributions to the county during his decade-long tenure as a commissioner.
Nobody provided more to Bibb County than Elmo Richardson, Edwards said during a committee meeting. No one had more of their fingerprints on these projects than him. Hes done a lot for this community over the years. On the commission, you have to have three people to get things done, so this was just appropriate.
Fire Station No. 111 will be named in honor of Bivins, who also is a commissioner-elect for the new Macon-Bibb County consolidated government. Fire station No. 109, which opened earlier this year on New Forsyth Road, will be named for Richardson, who chose not to run for office in 2012.
Fire Station No. 110, which had a groundbreaking ceremony earlier this year on Heath Road, will be named for Allen, himself a longtime Macon-Bibb County firefighter.
I think everybody knows the service Bert, Joe and Elmo have given this community, Edwards said.
Before the vote, Bivins tried to have the honor shifted over to Chairman Sam Hart, but Hart declined.
Allen said it was one of the most touching things ever done for him.
It makes me feel good that he did that, Allen said. One thing I said I was going to do when I got elected was to make sure all of the fire stations were changed from old metal buildings to nice ones with (necessary) manpower. It was unexpected that (Edwards) would do something like that. Berts been working with me a lot on adding new stations.
Also during Tuesdays meeting, the commissioners approved a resolution to name the interchange at Eisenhower Parkway and Interstate 475 in honor of T. Warren Bennett Jr., a B-52 pilot who was shot down during the Vietnam War and is still listed as missing in action. The interchange will be dedicated to all POW/MIA soldiers. Bennett is a cousin of Macon Mayor Robert Reichert.
Allen said it was necessary to name it for Bennett now, because Reichert -- mayor-elect of the consolidated government -- wouldnt be able to name it himself once the new government takes over.
The move to name all of the interchanges along I-475, including one in Monroe County, has been a special project of Allens and follows on the heels of dedicating the interchange at I-475 and Thomaston Road as the Veterans of All Wars Interchange last month. During that dedication, officials unveiled a plan to fly a 228-foot American flag weighing 1,400 pounds near the interchange. Officials said they think it will be the tallest free-standing flagpole in the U.S.
Allen said Monroe County Chairman Mike Bilderback told him that the interchange on I-475 at Bolingbroke would be dedicated as Veterans Memorial Interchange, home of the 148th, deployed in Iraq 2005-06.
The 148th Support Battalion is headquartered in Forsyth.
(Allen) has been the facilitator in all this, Bilderback said. Our commission is delighted to be a part of it. Without veterans, we cant enjoy our freedoms. I know its been said a lot, but it cant be said often enough. (Honoring the 148th) personalizes it for us.