Alabaster street named for civic leader

Published 3:46 pm Monday, July 27, 2009

When Willie B. Arrington was elected to the Alabaster City Council in 1981, he made a personal vow to represent the city as best he could.

And he did by all accounts.

Arrington, 93, was honored with a street dedication during a special ceremony this month. Fifth Avenue Southeast off Shelby County 11 has been renamed Arrington Avenue.

Ward 1 Councilwoman Sophie Martin was on hand to present the street sign to Arrington before 100 family members and friends. A reception followed.

“It’s something that needed to be done and we were finally able to get it done,” Martin said of the dedication. “Arrington Avenue will be a constant reminder to Alabaster residents of the years of service, dedication and hard work that Mr. Arrington gave to the city.”

Arrington moved to Alabaster in 1942 from Montgomery, and served on the city’s adjustment board, water and gas board and personnel board before being elected to the city council. He served three consecutive terms as Ward 1 Councilman, from 1981 to 1992.

Jimmy Gould, who serves on the Alabaster Planning and Zoning Board, agreed Arrington’s service to the city should not go unnoticed. Gould first met Arrington after settling in Alabaster 50 years ago.

“He’s contributed so much to this city, and he was very instrumental when we had the Alabaster Suburban League here,” Gould said. “He’s always been very involved in the community and he tried to do everything he possibly could to make Alabaster a better place to live for whites and blacks.”

Arrington, who is black, was a leader in Alabaster’s black community in the 1960s. When first elected to the council, Arrington felt compelled to clarify the job’s purpose.

“People always asked me, ‘What are you going to do for the black community in Alabaster?’ I ran for city council to help not just black people, but all the people of the city of Alabaster,” he said. “I enjoyed the work and I did the best job I knew how to do. I think I did good.”

Arrington and his late wife, Corene, have 10 children. He is a longtime deacon at Liberty Baptist Church in Alabaster.