When Dr. William Dobbs was elected mayor of Covington, Pace Street ended at the railroad tracks and traffic lights around town were illuminated by light bulbs.
As his 26 years of being mayor progressed, the street lights changed to mercury vapor and then sodium vapor, and Pace Street was paved reaching out to the Newton Plaza Shopping Center.
Now, 19 years after his last day in office and approximately four months after his passing, Pace Street is not only paved but it has been dedicated in his honor.
Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnston, city council members, other community officials and Dobbs’ friends and family introduced a sign declaring the road leading out of Covington “Dobbs Memorial Parkway Friday.” The green sign across the street from the Covington Fire Department Headquarters states “Dobbs Memorial Parkway; In honor of 26 years of service to the City of Covington; 1970-1996; Dr. W.L. Dobbs; Mayor of Covington.”
“It’s nice that the community leaders recognize his efforts for his 25 years as Mayor,” said Dr. William Dobbs’ son, Bill Dobbs.
Dr. William Dobbs helped form a solid relationship with the Newton County government, including County Chairman Roy Varner. Dobbs helped develop Covington’s industrial park, build the waste management treatment plant, help form the Covington Fire Department, work toward getting the Covington Police Department accredited and more.
Johnston started off the ceremony telling the crowd of almost two dozen people that Dr. William Dobbs was the first person who didn’t laugh at him when he told him he was thinking of running for mayor.
“When I walked out of his office, I not only felt he was a great man but a great friend,” Johnston said.
Other long-time city officials spoke about how Dr. William Dobbs touched Covington, including former city manager Frank Turner and current councilwoman Janet Goodman.
“He was a true gentleman with the highest integrity,” Turner said.
Goodman struggled to fight back tears when talking about her former friend and mayor (she has been a councilwoman under four mayors).
T.K. Adams was another speaker at Friday’s event, who spent a lot of time with Dr. William Dobbs as Mayor. Dr. William Dobbs approached Adams to lead a community band, again and again until Adams finally relented after five years.
Adams dedicated his Fourth of July performance, the final one of his career, to Dr. William Dobbs in honor of his late friend. Plenty of buildings, facilities, and now a street also honor the former mayor, something generations will be able to be a part of.
“There’s not a part of town that doesn’t remind me of him,” said Bess Dobbs, Dr. William Dobbs’ granddaughter. “People come up to me all the time with stories of the friendship and the progress he made in the city.”