Richmond Hill Mayor Harold Fowler said he campaigned on bringing the concerns of residents to the forefront, regardless the level of controversy it may evoke.
One concern, brought to the forefront on several occasions over the last several years by Richmond Hill resident Dick Kent, has been the signs on Hwy. 17 proclaiming Richmond Hill "A Henry Ford City."
Fowler recently discussed changing the signs.
Kent, who is Jewish, and others have said Ford was anti-Semitic and should not be endorsed by Richmond Hill. He has campaigned for 10 years to get the signs changed and has not had a receptive audience in City government – perhaps until now.
"I’ve had some complaints from residents saying they are offended by Richmond Hill being called ‘A Henry Ford City,’" Fowler said. "That being the case, I think we need to look at it."
Fowler said there are no definite plans to change the signs, but he is simply entertaining the notion to come up with a slogan that is acceptable to all the citizens of Richmond Hill. He discussed this with members of the Richmond Hill Historical Society recently, which apparently led to some media reports on the topic.
"Part of what I ran on was to have an open city government that listens to the concerns of the people," Fowler said. "This is a concern."
Fowler said Richmond Hill has a lot more to offer historically than being strictly a Henry Ford city, and he is open to changing the wording on the signs if residents would be more comfortable with something else.
"I admire Mayor Fowler for taking a stand, and I hope he doesn’t catch too much flack over it," Kent said. "This is a courageous action by a man of conscience. I’ve talked to him about this topic before, and he seemed very empathetic to my concerns."
Kent and Fowler both said this is not an attempt to discredit what Henry Ford has done for Richmond Hill and each commended him for helping give the city much of its infrastructure and original buildings.
-Read more in the Bryan County News.