WHAT’S IN A NAME? Lake Jimmy Jackson

Published 5:00 pm Saturday, February 25, 2023

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Former Hogansville Mayor and councilman Jimmy Jackson may not have lived to see the lake and park that bears his name being used in its full glory, but his son is certain he would be proud.

His son, Reginald (Reggie) Jackson, now a former councilman himself, said that his dad had long advocated that the former reservoir be turned into a recreational lake.

Reginald said that when he was first elected to the city council, former Mayor Bill Stankiewicz would frequently talk about how his dad had advocated turning the reservoir into a swimmable and fishable lake for Hogansville.

At the time, government regulations prevented the lake from being used for recreation, Reginald said.

The lake was originally built as a flood-control lake in the 1960s and later became a water source for the city. The former mayor had been a long-time advocate for opening the lake to recreational fishing prior to his death in 2014.

Jackson’s goal was that the former reservoir be turned into a community park for Hogansville.

During Jackson’s final term as mayor, he designated SPLOST funds for recreation at the lake in 2011. When Stankiewicz took over as mayor in 2014, he encouraged the council to name the lake after Jackson.

When the lake officially opened for recreation in 2019, the City of Hogansville, honored the two-term mayor by naming a new recreational lake park after him.

Jackson was a lifelong resident of Hogansville, having also served on the Hogansville City Council, Hogansville Board of Education, NAACP and St. Mary’s United Methodist Church Board.

Reggie followed in his father’s footsteps in both public service and employment. 

Both Jimmy and Reggie worked for Georgia Power for over three decades. Reggie also served on the Hogansville City Council, like his father.

Reggie said his father passed before the groundbreaking and subsequent ribbon cutting. but he was able to participate as a council member.

“There wasn’t a week that went by when Mayor Jackson didn’t come into my office when I was the city manager and ask, ‘When are we going to open up the lake for fishing?’ Well, today is the day,” Stankiewicz said at the ribbon cutting.

“My father was a big advocate for Hogansville. If he was still around to see the lake finally get opened for the public, he’d be proud,” Reggie said. “He was very adamant trying to get this where citizens can use it to fish out of and then the beach park came in.”

Reggie said he was inspired to run for council by his dad. He said during his last two years he would go to council meetings with his father due to his deteriorating health.

“I was bringing him in and I just started listening to see what’s going. I began to think I could make a change and do something for the citizens and be their voice. So, I ran that year that my father passed,” Reggie said.

Reggie said his father still cared so much for the Hogansville community despite his ailing health.

“He was talking to me about running again not long before he died,” Jackson said.

Reggie said that his father was still very active in meetings when he was bringing him in.

“He was making sure things were going on that needed to go on to make sure everyone was a part of the decisions,” Reggie said. “I just saw that and want to go ahead and just finish what he started.”

Reggie said the lake’s name carrying on his father’s legacy means a lot to him.

“It means a lot to me, just to know that the citizens weren’t opposed to it and the council and the mayor at the time, thought enough of all the work he had put in with others to try to make the city a better place for everyone to live. They thought enough of my father to name this lake after him. That means a lot,” Reggie said.