Former Macon mayors C. Jack Ellis, David Carter up for naming honors

The contributions of two former Macon mayors have county commissioners considering a pair of special honors this week, according to committee agendas.

Mayor pro tem Al Tillman and commissioners Elaine Lucas and Larry Schlesinger are proposing the Macon City Auditorium be named for the city’s first Black mayor and become the C. Jack Ellis City Auditorium.

The resolution going before the Committee of the Whole on Tuesday morning explains Ellis’ long record of public service began with him serving 20 years in the U.S. Army where he was awarded three Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart during the Vietnam War.

Ellis continues to serve the community as a member of the Friends of Rosa Parks Square, which is adjacent to the auditorium that could bear his name,  and through his public service program Middle Georgia Spotlight on WMUB-TV at Mercer University.

In 1999, the two-term mayor and Macon native became the first African American elected to lead the city. He was re-elected in 2003.

Ellis is credited with providing about $1 million in loans to disadvantaged businesses, improving public housing, earning the City of Excellence award from the Georgia Municipal Association, purchasing and revitalizing Terminal Station, enabling construction of the Marriott Convention Center and establishing the College Hill Corridor, Macon Dog Park, C. Jack Ellis Youth Foundation and programs to increase minority participation in government contracting, increasing access to technology and reducing crime, according to the resolution.

Ellis has also served as Honorary Consul to the nation of Uganda and to the town of Elmina, Ghana, a Macon sister-city.

Commissioners will consider the honor Tuesday and pass on a recommendation for a final vote at the Nov. 17 meeting.

The Macon-Bibb County Commission is considering asking the Georgia State Legislature to name the U.S. 80 interchange with Interstate 475 for former mayor Maj David Carter (Liz Fabian)

Tuesday, the commission’s Facilities and Engineering Committee will discuss naming the U.S. 80 interchange at Interstate 475 for former mayor and military veteran Maj. David L. Carter.

Carter, who was serving as president of City Council in 1995, succeeded Mayor Tommy Olmstead who was appointed to head the Georgia Department of Human Resources.

Carter served in the U.S. Army under Gen. Douglas MacArthur and commanded the JROTC unit at Central High School for more than 18 years while it was the largest organization of its kind in the nation.

The resolution, co-sponsored by Tillman and retiring Commissioner Joe Allen, appeals to the Macon-Bibb County state legislative delegation to introduce legislation next year to honor Carter’s life of public service by dedicating that portion of Eisenhower Parkway as the Maj. David L. Carter Interchange.

If passed out of committee, the full commission will vote on the proposal Nov. 17.

Contact Civic Reporting Senior Fellow Liz Fabian at 478-301-2976 or [email protected].