Gordonville Municipal Complex makes history

By Mark Rogers

The Lowndes Signal

History was made last Friday as the Town of Gordonville’s Municipal Complex opened its doors.

A large crowd of residents, public officials and other dignitaries were on hand for the afternoon’s events.

Mayor Orbuty Ozier welcomed the guests, which included many of Ozier’s counterparts from the Alabama Conference of Black Mayors. One of the highlights was the unveiling of a large mural in the new building’s meeting room. The mural, painted by Ozier’s husband, William, who designed the building with architect Sam Donze, runs the length of the wall behind the town council members’ seats. Members of the town council are Mildred Lawson Works, Queen Stallworth, Annie Campbell, Agnita Davis Jackson and Annie Patterson. The town clerk is Katrina Smith and the Board Attorney is Prince Chestnut.

Brantley Fry, director of Sen. Doug Jones’ state operations, was the featured guest speaker. Fry spoke about Jones’ efforts in the state and offered any assistance to Gordonville that the senator could help with. She focused on rural broadband and water issues and urged Mayor Ozier and the council to apply for USDA Rural Development Grants and Community Development Block Grants to help with further expansion in the town of about 350 residents.

“I was so excited today,” Mayor Ozier said. “To be very honest, I have been planning for this day. I told myself I wasn’t going to cry, but I’m really fighting back the tears to get the job done. I thank the Lord that he strengthened my team – my council members, my clerk and the people in the community that rallied together. We were of one accord to get this building done. This is for the community, this is their home … this is our home.”

The mayor said the new Gordonville Municipal Complex was a starting point.

“We didn’t have a home,” she said. “This is a point to grow from. I was so grateful for all the people who came to the ceremony. We had people from other towns here, from Montgomery, Fort Deposit and more that were a part of this history. That says that it’s possible to take a little bit to make a lot. We’re going to continue to grow by the grace of God. We just have to keep the momentum going and continue the teamwork because it takes a team.”

The building is only the beginning for the Lowndes County municipality, according to Mayor Ozier.

“We’ve got another phase planned,” she said. “The next phase is going to be another wing the size of the first one. There will be a center, a rotunda area, and we’re going to use it as a multipurpose area that will seat about 100 people. We’ll have a larger facility to continue the growth. We already have a planning commission in place, but they don’t have an office yet. We’re sharing our office space with them. We’re going to do everything it takes to go online. Montgomery Mayor (Todd) Strange is one of my mentors. He has built Montgomery. Well this is going to be the small Montgomery — we’re going to be like Montgomery down here in Lowndes County.”

Mayor Ozier added that she wants to attract new residents to Gordonville.

“It’s  a beautiful place to live,” she said. “We have a low crime rate. People here care about each other and people here check on each other. The next generation goes and checks on the elderly. We want to do something for the young people to want to come and live here. Our plans and our future municipal park will include exercise equipment. We know our young people are going to love it. It’s for growth and it’s for them to expand their horizon.”

The mayor also hopes that Gordonville will grow far beyond its current 326 residents.

“We’re feeling that it will be more in the 2020 Census,” she said. “We have had new homes going up in Gordonville and we have new residents coming in. Everywhere I go, in the grocery store or wherever, I’m recruiting. I want people to come and be apart of this growth and opportunity in Gordonville. Come someplace to live where you can sit on your porch or walk out on the street where everyone speaks and everyone has a connection. I invite them to come and be a part of this connection and growth.”