New Name for Dunbar?

Published 5:13 pm Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Dunbar Recreation Community Center may have a new name if the City of Greenville agrees with the center’s founding committee.

Eugene Hudson, addressing the council members on Monday night, asked the city to consider changing the name of the longtime facility to Longmire Community Center in honor of the late Professor W.J. Longmire, a person who Hudson said made significant contributions to the black community and to Greenville.

“We currently have both the recreation center and the park bearing the name of Dunbar,” he said. “What we would like to see is the recreation center named for Mr. W.J. Longmire, a person of minority from here in Greenville.”

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Dunbar is named for Paul Laurence Dunbar, the son of ex-slaves. He was born in 1872 and was the first African-American to gain national fame for his poetry, but lived to be only 33 years old.

Hudson, one of three surviving members of the founding committee, presented council members with a resolution noting Longmire’s professional and civic accomplishments during his long life. The resolution stated that Longmire served as a professor at Lomax-Hannon High School in the 1940s, providing clothes and food for the needy while also educating blacks in Greenville and Butler County. Among numerous other accomplishments, the resolution credited Longmire for establishing the first state-supported senior day care center for the elderly in Greenville, bringing the county’s first Head Start program to Butler County in 1965, and securing local merchants to provide food, clothes and toys to poor children during the holidays.

Longmire was also part of the nine-person committee that helped found the Dunbar Recreation Community Center.

He was married to Estelle Golson of Garland.

Mayor Dexter McLendon promised Hudson council members would take the resolution into full consideration. He said the decision could be made next council meeting, scheduled for Monday, Sept. 22.

In other business, the council:

Approved the issuance of an ABC Special Retail Liquor License – More Than 30 Days to the Chef’s Table, LLC.

Approved Change Order No. 2 for the Airport Runway Sealcoating and Striping Project as complete and authorized a final payment of $3,284.79 to Southeastern Sealcoating, Inc.

Approved an ordinance to give property owned by the city in the Industrial Park to the Industrial Development Board. McLendon said the property – approximately 18 acres – was originally sold to Sylvest Farms, Inc. for the construction of another facility. Subsequently, the plant was never built and with the help of a $123,000 grant, the city was able to reacquire the property.

McLendon said conveying the property to the Industrial Development Board can help lure more business to the city.

Approved an ordinance authorizing the appointment of Regions Bank Trust Division as successor paying agent for 2003 and 2005 general obligation bonds. The bonds were originally with BankTrust, formerly Peoples Bank & Trust. McLendon said BankTrust will no longer provide corporate trust services and authorized Regions Bank to serve as paying agents on the bonds.

Approved the following expenditures: $9,000 to the YMCA for budgeted pool chemicals for Beeland Park; $1,140 to the Greenville Firefighters Association for August volunteer payroll; $6,768.48 to Middleton Oil Company for 1,000 gallons on-road diesel and 900 gallons unleaded fuel for emergency backup tanks; $1,270.20 to Clark’s Paint & Body Shop for repairs to Patrol Car No. 65 due to a June 3 accident. Payment has been received from other party’s insurance to cover damage; $1,173.36 to McKinley Tire for four tires and mounts for Trash Trailer No. 69.

Weed and Debris Violations: Natalie and David Quates – Vacant lot across from 572 Bell St.; Clausel Jr. and Deloris Maxwell – Vacant lot next to 816 Oglesby St.