It came as a surprise to Mayor Robert Bridges when the Statham City council added a last minute item to its agenda on Tuesday night and unanimously passed a motion to rename Furr Lane Park in his honor.
“We all feel like you need some recognition here, too,” council member Gayle Steed said before making a motion to rename the park the Robert Bridges Park.
Council member David Huth, when seconding, said the mayor has “created a wonderful environment (at the park with his work on the nature trails) and very much deserves this.” “We’re very proud of that park,” said council member Perry Barton.
After Bridges thanked the council for the honor, the audience applauded.
City administrator Steve Martin said he would work on scheduling a formal dedication for the park.
Also on Tuesday, the council passed a motion to rename Park Street Park to Hillman Rainwater Park in honor of Randolph Rainwater and Walter Hillman. Rainwater was an 11-year-old local boy who drowned in an illegal sewage pit. Hillman is a Statham resident who started the Randolph Rainwater Foundation in 2011 in order to give Statham children a safe place to play.
When presenting the recommendation, Martin said: “Given the tragic circumstances around the death of the Rainwater Child, I have asked that we consider renaming the park to ‘Hillman Rainwater Park.’” It passed unanimously.
Mayor Bridges said the city would work on getting signs up for the occasion and Martin suggested the city also hold a formal dedication for that park.
The Aug. 19 council meeting was former chief of police Steve Martin’s first time serving as city administrator during a regular council session. Martin was appointed as city administrator on July 15 and Allan Johnston was also promoted from assistant police chief to police chief.