A member of the Tifton community was recognized by the mayor and city council at Monday evening’s city council meeting.
Mayor Jamie Cater read a proclamation in recognition of Ethel Sinclair, who recently celebrated her 105th birthday.
With a large crowd of her family and friends sitting on one side of the courtroom, Cater stood in front of Sinclair, who sat with a grin on her face.
According to the proclamation, Sinclair was born on Aug. 14, 1907 in Savannah, although she was a native to South Georgia. She moved to Tifton in 1975 after the passing of her late husband, Alex Sinclair.
Sinclair has been a devoted wife, mother, homemaker and also farmed the homestead to help support her family. She is the proud mother of David Sinclair, Willie B. Sinclair, Gloria Cooper, Georgia Jordan, Carrie Keys and Ethelene Sinclair, and she’s a proud grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother.
The proclamation further states that Sinclair is known to others to be a joyful soul and still opens her heart and home for others to enjoy.
It states, “This remarkable lady has maintained a wonderful attitude and outlook throughout her life and is a precious gem to our dear city.”
With Sinclair being 105 years of age, the proclamation stated that “the city would like to recognize her for many years as a citizen and wish her many more healthy years to come.”
On behalf of the city council and the citizens of Tifton, Cater said, “I extend my appreciation to Ms. Ethel Sinclair for her lifetime of goodwill and honorary citizenship.”
After the proclamation was read, the crowd stood and clapped. One person in the audience stated that Sinclair is a “special lady.”
Sinclair’s family thanked the mayor and council for the recognition.
“Well, folks, I have a new hero,” Cater commented about Sinclair.
Also, during the meeting, Main Street’s Economic Development Director Lequrica Gaskins gave a presentation on the Main Street Department. In a PowerPoint presentation, she explained that this information is used throughout the state to tell about what Tifton is doing downtown. She noted that she recently received a call from someone from Bainbridge about downtown Tifton.
“We have a lot of partners we work with,” she said during the presentation. “We’re very appreciative of our partners.”
Gaskins stated that the following opportunities are available in downtown Tifton: “tools in the toolbox” - enterprise zones, opportunities zones, DDA loans and tax credits; and “intangibles” - SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis, master plan and market evaluation.
She also mentioned that there used to be a gap in the downtown area when she first started working with the Main Street Department, which is now Gateway Park. She added that they’re working on the Tift Theatre, sings for downtown and streetscape improvements, which there are funds available to complete this project.
Gaskins mentioned again that the department tries to make sure that they have strong partnerships. She said the Tifton Merchants Association is growing strong and has been great to work with these past years. The Wiregrass Farmers Market is doing very well, she added.
Gaskins said their current promotional project in downtown is Paint the Town Pink.
Councilwoman Julie Smith commended Gaskins and noted that the Main Street program for Paint the Town Pink was recently recognized by the Georgia Downtown Association and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs at the Annual Georgia Downtown Conference in LaGrange. Main Street Tifton was awarded the “Best Image Building Campaign” for their first annual Paint the Town Pink event.
Utilities Manager Donna Pate discussed the H.E.A.T. program.
According to a press release provided by Pate, “Thousands of Georgians need help now to pay their winter heating bills. Even with federal energy assistance funds, there is simply not enough money available, especially for Georgia’s senior citizens, who often must choose between paying their heating bills and having food in their pantry. That’s why the Heating Energy Assistance Team (H.E.A.T.) is working with the City of Tifton to raise much-needed energy assistance funds.”
The press release further states that H.E.A.T. is a Georgia-based nonprofit organization and provided more than $500,000 to nearly 1,600 households statewide during the past winter. Many Tifton residents received these energy assistance funds this past year. Even more families needed help, but because of lack of funds, they could not receive assistance. Each year, the need for energy assistance grows while federal funding generally decreases. The local community can help meet that need through programs like H.E.A.T.
City of Tifton utility customers can help their neighbors by donating through their utility bill or online at www.heatga.org. Also, donations can be mailed to H.E.A.T., c/o Wells Fargo Bank, P.O. Box 930112, Atlanta, Ga. 31193.
For more information, contact H.E.A.T. at 678-406-0212 or Pate at 391-3949.
Pate told council members that they plan to send out letters this month and that any amount of donations from the community is appreciated. All money go towards local families.
“Tifton citizens have been the most generous,” Pate stated.
Before the meeting, a public hearing was held to consider a request for the Planned Development Overlay designation by Garvey Construction for multi-family residential use located at 1609 and 1621 Central Avenue (Z12-000-002).
The request was recommended for approval by staff, according to Bert Crowe, director of the environmental management department.
During the public hearing, City Attorney Rob Wilmot asked if anyone wanted to speak for or against the request, which no one did.
The following was approved by the council:
• Consent agenda: resolution providing for new alcoholic beverage license for Belle Foods, LLC on Tift Avenue North (used to be Piggly Wiggly); approval of bid for citywide pest control services; approval of bid for Tifton Multiphase Downtown Streetscape and Beautification-GDOT Project #CSTEE-0009-00 (134), PI No.:0009134; consider resolution providing for surplus properties on West Golden Road and South Central Avenue; and resolution providing for additional homestead exemption for senior citizens.
• Resolution providing for one-day alcoholic beverage catering permit for Traditions on West 12th Street.
• Ordinance: consider ordinance providing for PDO from Garvey Construction; consider ordinance providing for minor modification to the Shapiro PDO (T-PDO-08-01); and consider ordinance providing for amendments to Taxi Cab Provisions (Vehicles for Hire).
In other business, the council discussed considering the award of bid for the RDC Roadway Improvements to The Scruggs Company in the amount of $661,463.94. Roger Dill, local consultant engineer, is heading up this project. He noted that funds will be coming from the state, not the City of Tifton, and any additional payments will be made by Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. City Manager Larry Riner said he will discuss this project more with Dill.
To contact reporter Latasha Everson, call 382-4321.