SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - If you drive Interstate 516 West near Bay Street in Chatham County, you probably ran into some extra traffic around noon on Monday.
There was a convoy and a lot of people standing along the shoulder of the road. They were installing a sign that names the bridge in honor of former Mayor Floyd Adams, Jr.
While Savannah City Council and others were debating changing the name of the big bridge that welcomes us to Savannah, the Talmadge Bridge, State Representative Carl Gilliard was quietly working on naming the bridge on Interstate 516 over West Bay Street in Chatham County in memory of former Mayor Floyd Adams, Jr. Gilliard knew Adams his entire life.
"I remember being in front of First African Baptist Church and he told me I want to be the mayor for all people. That's what he represented," said Rep. Carl Gilliard, GA District 162.
Before they installed the sign Monday afternoon, a large group of community leaders, family, and friends gathered at St. Paul CME for a dedication service where they presented awards, proclamations, and signs to Adams' wife and son. They also shared fond memories, danced and sang songs in honor of the man our community remembers as a real bridge builder. Gilliard says a large part of what Savannah is was planned during Mayor Adams time at City Hall from tourism to growth downtown.
"We see downtown economics and all the above is booming. It has given everyone else a blueprint of working together. He worked beyond racial beyond economics and worked for everybody," Rep. Carl Gilliard added.
Perhaps the late Floyd Adams spoke about his legacy best when he was running for mayor the third time in 2011.
"I want to bring this city together. I don't like the divide they have. If you look at it, this city is very diverse with blacks, whites, Asians, Hispanics; and we all need to work together as one for the progress of this community," said the late former mayor, Floyd Adams.
Mayor Adams was the first African American to elected to a citywide seat when he became Alderman- at- large. He then became the first African American to be elected to serve as Mayor. Floyd Adams passed away in 2014.