Dewey City Historic District residents weigh in on temporary council seat

By: Noelani Mathews | WCTV Eyewitness News
May 7, 2019

THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WCTV) -- More than a month after Thomasville's mayor was suspended by Georgia's governor, the city's search to fill his vacant role as a city councilman is nearing its end.

This week, the city has named five qualifying finalists who applied for the temporary seat over district one: Carlton Bryant, Cheryl Presha, Donald Payne Sims, Joslynn Renelle Reynolds and Kristie L. Alford.

Instead of a typical election, the temporary position is being appointed by the current city council.

Residents who live in district one say it's also called the Dewey City Historic District, the name it's listed under in the National Register for Historic Places.

They say its history is one huge reason they think it's important for them to trust who fills their future city council seat.

The area is home to more than 150 years of Thomasville history. Some of its historic structures are still standing, while others are now only captured in pictures at Jack Hadley's Black History Museum located in the Dewey City district.

Resident say their neighborhoods lack preservation, and they're watching its history slowly vanish.

"We have not been able to get anything done like we would like to. We want our neighborhood to look like other historic neighborhoods," said Carolyn Coachman, member of Dewey City Neighborhood Watch.

It's this reason that residents want a voice in Dewey City's future. Residents want to be heard during the process of selecting the person who fills their district's city council seat. They say it's a temporary position that has the power of making permanent change.

"We should be able to have an input, and at least be considered," said Lovetta Jones, a resident.

"So, they know what we need and we know what to expect from them," said Coachman.

Residents invited the five finalists to attend their next neighborhood watch meeting at Douglas School on Saturday at 10 a.m.

The city says the final vote and appointment for the position is scheduled for Monday's city council meeting.

The role will be filled until Mayor Greg Hobbs' final disposition in the GBI forgery case, or until the end of his term in December 2020, whichever comes first.