By Tonya Jackson
Lumon May comes from a background of service to others. His parent’s, the late Rev. Theophalis and Mary May, demonstrated to him and his siblings good citizenship, and he has continued that path. After many years of dedicated community service, May was elected as the County Commissioner for District 3 in November 2012.
A quick scan of May’s page at myescambia.com reveals a few of his achievements thus far. “Established the Community Redevelopment Area ‘Clean Sweep’ Program for Summer 2013 and 2014, creating 28 temporary employment/training opportunities for constituents in District 3. Purchased the Brownsville Community Center for future use as a job training, recreation, and cultural arts facility. Instituted Summer Youth Camps beginning in June of 2014 at Wedgewood, Ebonwood, and Dorrie Miller Community Centers. Working with fellow commissioners to establish a committee to study drainage and storm water issues. Continuing the fight against crime and the support of clean and safe neighborhoods.”
The previous list looks nice, but with this being election season, we are most interested in his campaign promises being kept. May ran on three basic principles, clean and safe neighborhoods, opportunities for youth, and job creation.
During a recent conversation with May, he shared the list of projects he has worked on and is working on. May states, “We are currently paving in Montclair. We’re working on eight or nine roads, $500,000 in sidewalks and other paving projects. We are also doing clean sweeps inside the parks in the Montclair area. In Ebonwood, Montclair, and Wedgewood we have the first afterschool and summer day camps. We’ve had the first feeding programs at Dorrie Miller, This summer we’ll have our first cyberspace program. We’ve created the first intern program where we allow young people to come and do an internship with Escambia County.”
May continues, “We did the ‘Light It Up’ program in Ensley to bring more lights than before in that area. We redid the Ensley Park. We redid the Lincoln Park. Because the Brownsville area has been high in crime, we’ve purchased the Brownsville Community Center. We’re currently in the process of renovating that to not only make it a place where kids can play sports, but also a performing art center. We know many of our young people are inclined to do music and the performing arts. This center will have a basketball court, but it will also have a studio and a stage. This will allow our young people to really engage in the arts and at the same address their academic needs.”
Regarding job creation May shares, “We created the CRA (Community Redevelopment Agency) program in which we hire people from the neighborhood to go clean the area. When you go through the Ebonwood, the Englewood, the Montclair areas you’ll see the work they’ve done. During the summer months, this program gets intensified. We’ve hired over 70 people through this program, and many of them have been able to transition these positions into other jobs. We are investing in human capital.”
“We have the homeownership program where we got the amount increased for first-time homebuyers to $12,500. We are continuing to work to increase that. We recognize the importance of people investing in the community and buying their first home. I’m currently working on a plan for surplus county land and putting out an RMP to incentive builders to not only get the $12,500, but we’re going to raise that amount to $20,000 in certain CRA areas. These projects translate to more employment opportunities and stronger communities.”
“I’d like to think that Lumon May did this, but it takes all of us working together. One area that sticks out to me is the Wedgewood area, a neighborhood that was certainly blighted and contaminated with all types of sulfites and toxins. People said they had been asking somebody for the last 30 years to address these pits. So we did a pit tour, we went out to all of the pits. We got a lot of media attention. We got the attention of our legislatures and the EPA. We spent time in Washington DC at the EPA, and I’m proud to say the Rolling Hills Dump is no longer in operation. But it wasn’t Lumon May, it was the Cindy Martin’s, it was the Gloria Horning’s, the LaFanette Soles-Woods’s, it was the Judy Cooks, it was the Larry Williams, it was the Wedgewood-Rolling Hills Home Owners Association that stepped up and said, ‘No more!’ I was just fortunate enough to be part of that team and help provide some leadership. So throughout our entire district, one that has been highly plagued with poverty, highly plagued with crime, I see glimpses of hope.”
At the end of this campaign season voters will have to compare the record of Commissioner May with the promises of his opponents to determine if he is allowed to maintain his current record of progress for Escambia County Florida. For more information on Commissioner May, you can go to myescambia.com/districts/3.