published Thursday, February 18th, 2010

County names building for Paul McDaniel


by Matt Wilson
Audio clip

Hamilton County Commission meeting

A $5.9 million former nursing home donated to Hamilton County late last year will bear the name of one of the county's first commissioners: the Rev. Paul McDaniel.

"I think it's very proper that we name a building for you," County Mayor Claude Ramsey said to Mr. McDaniel at Wednesday's County Commission meeting.

The commission voted unanimously to name the building for the former commissioner.

Mr. McDaniel said he felt "so many emotions" on receiving the honor.

"I thank God for you," he said. "I thank the people for the opportunity to serve."

The county accepted the building at 455 N. Highland Park Ave., formerly owned by Life Care Centers of America, in November. It's about 57,000 square feet. Commissioners have said they plan to use the building for county office space, but they haven't specified any particular departments to go there.

A county rule prohibits officials from naming a building after someone who still is alive, but Wednesday's resolution to name the building for Mr. McDaniel waived that rule in this case.

Mr. McDaniel sued to be able to be a member of the 1977 Tennessee Constitutional Convention, which established the County Commission form of government. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8-0 that Tennessee could not prohibit members of the clergy from holding office.

IN OTHER BUSINESS

The Hamilton County Commission voted 8-0 to move forward with a request for more than $32 million in federal money for county projects. The projects include extending the Tennessee Riverwalk, rail projects at Enterprise South industrial park and a connector road from state Highway 58 to Enterprise South.

Mr. McDaniel served as a commissioner from the commission's formation in 1978 to 1998 and was chairman five times. The commission recognized him during its annual Black History Month celebration.

All the sitting commissioners expressed their appreciation for Mr. McDaniel.

"I've never felt as comfortable anyplace as when I'm listening to you," Commissioner John Allen Brooks told the former commissioner.

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