After 31 years of serving in Richmond Hill city government – 21 years as mayor and 10 years as councilman – Richard Davis is days away from the end of his final term as mayor. He found time Tuesday to answer a few questions.
How long have you lived in Richmond Hill?
Sixty-nine years. I moved here when I was five years old.
When did you decide do get into city politics?In 1962, I remember going door to door getting signatures on a petition to get Richmond Hill incorporated, so I’ve been apart of this city from day one. I love Richmond Hill. Out of the 47 years we’ve been a city, I’ve been apart of it for 31 years. When I first came on the city council in 1978, there were about 1,800 people in Richmond Hill. Now there’s about 11-12,000.
Will it be a challenge for you adjusting to life without a government title?
Not at all. In fact, I’ll now have more time for volunteer work, like for St. Joseph’s Hospital, the Red Cross and the local food pantry. It will also allow me to spend more time with my wife, grandchildren and two sons.
In your opinion, has Richmond Hill grown in a positive manner during your regime?
Absolutely. I mean, what other town do you know of with a population of 11,000 that has three McDonald’s?
A lot has been accomplished during your tenure. What are some of the highlights that stand out in your mind?
I don't have any concerns about history is going to judge me, because I've been there and done that. When I became the mayor, Ford Avenue and Hwy. 17 were still two-lane roads. It took a great deal of encouragement from the local level to get the DOT to improve those roads.
A phone call from here to Savannah was long distance when I first came on as mayor. It took several trips to Atlanta, but we got that changed.
The effluent from the city’s wastewater facility used to go directly into the Ogeechee. I’m proud of the fact that I played a hand in the creation of the wastewater plant in Sterling Creek, which does not have a direct flow into the river.
I played a hand in bringing the Bryan County Health and Rehabilitation nursing home to Richmond Hill, and it’s been a God-send to the people of South Bryan County. I know first hand because my mother spent five years there.
-Read more in the Bryan County News.