Eufaula Mayor Jack Tibbs called it a sad day as Greg Holmes attended his last meeting of the city council as fire chief.
Holmes retires at the end of November. Ryan Feggins takes over the role as Eufaula Fire Chief on Dec. 1.
Tibbs then surprised Holmes with the news that the new Northside Fire Station, destroyed in the March 3 tornado, will be dedicated to Holmes with a plaque.
“Thank you for the last seven years that I’ve worked with you,” Tibbs said. “You’re leaving the place flying high. Ryan is going to keep it flying high. But, as long as Eufaula is a city and Northside is a fire station, they are going to know about Greg Holmes.”
An emotional Holmes told the council and Tibbs, “I appreciate the support you have given me. Just because I’m leaving doesn’t mean I won’t be a part of it. It’s been an honor to serve my community.”
Holmes turns 50 on Thanksgiving Day. He spent 29 years with the Eufaula FD. His family was on hand at Monday night’s meeting.
“I appreciate everything y’all have done for me and all the time we’ve had together,” Holmes said. “When I started, two of my daughters weren’t even born and now I have grandchildren.”
Tibbs read the wording that will be on the plaque, including “You’ve had 29 years of leadership, dedication and passion. You continue to be an inspiration to all.”
On Thursday, two new streets were dedicated near the new Taco Bell. One will be named after Veteran Clarence Diggs — Diggs Drive. The other will be in honor of Lt. Colonel Tom Sima, a former prisoner of war for 7 1/2 years in Vietnam. That street will be Sima Way.
“I told them they are small streets for big men,” Tibbs said.
Eufaula business owner Steve Cox addressed to council hoping to eliminate the 5% tax he has to pay on his purchases of spirits from the state-owned ABC store. He said that was a large percentage of his profit margin because he already has to pay full price at the store. Cox said only advantage is that his store opens a little earlier and closes a little later, as well as sells tobacco products, beer and wine.
“Five percent handcuffs me in my pricing,” Cox said.
The second reading of the ordinance will be at the next council meeting, Dec. 2. At that time there will be a vote on the ordinance.
Martin TheatreThe Marin Theatre, which fell into despair following a fire many years ago, has been donated to the Eufaula Downtown Redevelopment Authority by owner Craig Taylor in hopes that it can be restored and repurposed into an outdoor performing arts and entertainment venue.
Once complete, the facility will be used to host performing arts events such as concerts, and will also be available for use as a venue for wedding receptions and other social events, according to Redevelopment Authority member Joel Smith.
The first phase of the project will include cleanup of the interior and restoration of the marquee and the building façade. A sign company in Tuscaloosa engaged to take the marquee down and transport it to Tuscaloosa for restoration. Taylor and his family are also contributing financially to this effort.
A formal fundraising campaign for the theatre will begin soon, and the group will be soliciting tax deductible charitable donations from area citizens and businesses. The Redevelopment Authority also expects to pursue grant money for the project.
The Eufaula Downtown Redevelopment Authority is appointed by the Eufaula City Council and is the organization that owns the Theatre. The Friends of the Martin Theatre members are selected by the EDRA and will be the fundraising arm and organization for the theatre.