TERESA GEE HARDY led a delegation of local residents seeking the Cairo city council’s authorization to rename Washington Drive S.W. to J.J. Wilcox Drive in honor of the Atlanta Falcons football player and community booster.
Atlanta Falcons football player and Cairo native J.J. Wilcox received an early birthday present when he learned Monday night that the Cairo City Council had approved the renaming of Washington Drive S.W. to J.J. Wilcox Drive S.W.
A delegation of southwest Cairo residents, family members, and relatives of Wilcox appeared before the council this week requesting the street name change. The delegation was led by Teresa Gee Hardy.
Hardy shared with the council a petition signed by all but five of the residents on the street who were in support of the name change. Those five who could not be reached were either in the hospital or out of town, according to Hardy.
The group’s spokesperson highlighted some of the reasons the community was requesting the street be named in honor of Wilcox. Some of those accomplishments and acts of public service included providing over 3,000 holiday dinners to local families, supporting the Jackie Robinson Boys & Girls Club, sponsoring educational trips for local students, and serving as an inspirational and motivational speaker to children in the Grady County School System and to members of the Boys & Girls Club.
In addition to being one of the few local athletes to actually make it into the National Football League, Hardy said that Wilcox “has given back to the community.” She said the group wanted to recognize him for his spirit of giving by naming the city street in his honor.
“His birthday is Friday and we sure would like this to be an early birthday gift to him,” Hardy said.
Councilman James H. (Jimmy) Douglas stated publicly that he was supporting the name change because of Wilcox’s contributions to the community and not just because he was an N.F.L. player.
In other business Monday night, the council:
‰Heard from Tallahassee resident Jevar McGhee who asked the city council to consider enhancements to improve safety for children in and around school zones in the aftermath of the death of a 6-year-old boy who was recently killed on his way to school when he ran out in front of a car. Councilman Jerry Cox suggested McGhee contact the Grady County Board of Education and school superintendent to discuss possible enhancements to school zone safety measures. Cox said the council would work with the school system to make any necessary changes.
‰Heard from Sondra Williams, a Bark Avenue N.E. resident, who urged the council to eliminate abandoned structures on M.L. King Jr. Avenue S.W. According to Williams, several had been abandoned for years. She said these structures are not a good look for the community and had negative impacts on neighboring property values. City Manager Chris Addleton requested a list of addresses from Williams and he reported that demolition permits had been purchased for two of the structures in question.
‰Accepted the recommendation of Municipal Court Judge Joshua C. Bell to execute an agreement with Judicial Alternatives of Georgia for probation services for Cairo Municipal Court. J.A.G. is the current provider and under the new agreement the supervision fee will increase from $35 per month to $40 per month and an intensive probation fee of $50 per month has been added. City Attorney Thomas L. Lehman said it was the judge’s responsibility to make a recommendation on providers of probation services and the council’s responsibility to approve or deny the request to enter into a contract. The contract approved Monday night is for up to five years and either party may terminate with a 30-day written notice.