Nancy Taylor: Greene Publishing, Inc.
Commissioner Judy Townsend and local citizen Jesse Solomon originally presented a petition for the renaming SW First St. and SW Scruggs St. (which are separated only by a railroad track and a slight shift) to Pete Mobley St. at the Tuesday, Oct. 10 City Commission meeting. At that time, some of the City Commissioners voiced concerns that emergency response times might be affected due to confusion concerning ability to find certain addresses because of the track and the shift in the roadway.
After hearing Solomon’s request, the commission directed City Attorney Schnitker to prepare the appropriate paper work for the November meeting.
Solomon, who originally brought the petition to the commissioners, returned for the Tuesday, Nov. 14 commission meeting to stress his opinion that a man like Pete Mobley deserved more than just “half a street named in honor of him.” (This comment sprang from concerns raised by commissioners at a previous meeting that since the street is divided by a railroad crossing – and the two sides do not align exactly – this could cause potential delays in emergency response times.)
Both Fire Chief Bruce Jordan and Police Chief Reggie Alexander responded to the Board’s concerns. Both Jordan and Alexander stated that they rely more on the City’s address numbering system than the street names, so they did not believe the renaming would be an issue.
When a commissioner voiced concern about whether or not becoming familiar with the layout and street names within Madison was part of training for new emergency workers, both Jordan and Alexander assured the Board it was.
Throughout this portion of the meeting, audience members frequently interrupted to provide input.
At one point during the conversation, Commissioner Catron suggested renaming the police station after Mobley, since he had served as an officer so faithfully. However, when it came time to vote, the commissioners did vote to move forward with the renaming of SW First St. and SW Scruggs St. The motion was approved to rename the streets to Pete Mobley St.
Mobley was the first African-American law officer in Madison County. On Aug. 21, 1964 he became a law enforcement officer with the Police Department along with the Sheriff’s Office. After serving 21 years in the law enforcement field, Mobley retired as a Sergeant on Aug. 12, 1985. “God continues to bless me,” said Mobley while looking back on his 89 years of life. “I have a reason to be happy. I will die happy.