TUSCUMBIA — After receiving a congratulatory call from mayoral race opponent David Cole and checking the final numbers in the runoff race, incumbent Bill Shoemaker immediately turned his attention to the next four years.
“Time to get back to work,” Shoemaker said after winning Tuesday’s runoff. “Let’s get on to five-laning Avalon Avenue.”
Shoemaker secured a third term in office by taking in 58.8 percent of the votes, defeating Cole by 212 votes.
It had been a quiet runoff between the mayor and Cole, a longtime friend and the city’s fire chief.
“David and I’ve been friends most of his life,” Shoemaker said.
“I never ran against David, I ran for mayor. I think he felt the same way about me. There was never a cross word between us.”
Shoemaker wants the portion of Avalon Avenue leading from Montgomery Avenue into Muscle Shoals five laned, to help enhance access to the street and make that stretch more attractive to commerce.
The existing stretch of Avalon is two lanes, with the eastbound lane in Tuscumbia and westbound in Sheffield.
The two cities are working together, along with the Helen Keller Hospital Board, to secure local, state and federal money for the estimated $4.2 million project.
Avalon dead ends into Keller Hospital, where Tuscumbia and Sheffield meet.
Tuscumbia is nearing completion on three projects: a new City Hall at the former downtown post office on Sixth Street; a roundhouse and turntable outside the old Train Depot at Fifth and Water streets; and a water treatment plant with a nanofiltration system that will improve the city’s water supply.
“Those are mostly done, and now we’ve got to work on getting some five-laning done,” Shoemaker said.
Cole said Shoemaker won by large amounts in District 1 and District 4, where he did well in the August elections. The mayor got 196 votes to Cole’s 77 in District 1 and won 181-105 in District 4.
“He’s got a loyal support group,” Cole said. “He held the areas where he was strong in last time.”
The fire chief said he looks forward to resuming work and there are no hard feelings between him and his boss.
“We’ve been friends a long time,” Cole said. “That’s one of the reasons it’s been such a quiet race.”
The two candidates were thrust into the runoff in the Aug. 28 election when Shoemaker accumulated 47.6 percent of the votes and Cole had 28 percent. while accountant Kerry “Bubba” Underwood received 24.4 percent.
Shoemaker said he wants to continue working with a strong group of merchants who are dedicated to improving the city’s tax base. Tuscumbia has a small tax base but some additional businesses have come to the city recently, the mayor said.
“If we can increase our sales tax base, that would be the biggest thing we can do for this town,” Shoemaker said. “I had a business meeting with the merchants this week and you can tell all the merchants support each other. We just need to convince more and more people to join us.”
Bernie Delinski can be reached at 256-740-5739 or bernie.delinski@TimesDaily.com.
David Cole 499 41.2%
Bill Shoemaker 711 58.8%
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