Jerkins: a man behind the city scenes
By Lydia Grimes
Flowers, putting up Christmas decorations and then taking them down again are just a few of the things that are handled by city employees.
Although they are busy taking care of some of the most important day-to-day jobs within a city, they are often some of the most overlooked.
Craig Jerkins, public works director for the city of Brewton, and his 30 employees, handle some of the most vital jobs that keep a city infrastructure working.
One of those jobs are making sure that customers have healthy and clean water coming into their homes and taking care of the drainage and ditch problems.
Jerkins has worked for the city for the past 23 years and has held down his present position for the past couple of years.
“I love my job,” Jerkins said. “I feel as if we, in this department, work well with the other departments in the city to make things run as smoothly as possible.
“Although we don’t work alone, all of us working together make the city a better place to live.”
Some of the things taken care of by the public works department are the land fill on Jay Road, street maintenance, drainage, street paving and working with others, such as the Tree and Beautification Board.
It is this working together with the Tree and Beautification Board that Union Cemetery is kept clean, as is the coordination of building and maintaining the many parks in our city. That includes Alco Park, City Park, Jennings Park, and the newest little park on Belleville Avenue, as well as maintaining the large selection of flowers that hang from lamp posts all around town, Jenkins said.
There are many plans, both short-term and long-term, that are in the works and will, in the future, make Brewton more beautiful, such as the CCC Park, which will hopefully combine with Jennings Park to make that area into a place that will draw people to that part of the city.
“Some of the things are still in the planning stages,” Jerkins said. “It takes a long time when you deal with all the environmental details and different engineering problems that come up.
“For instance, each little turn of the creek brings us a new possible habitat problem,” he said. “We have to be careful and stick to the rules that apply.
“We are moving forward, and although some things are not as noticeable, they are just as important,” he added. “We have just put in a new electrical system at Jennings Park. Because it is in a flood plain, there has to be special care in dealing with electrical, and we had put it off as long as we could.”
Jerkins stays as current with education and new techniques as he can.
He is certified in the urban forestry program and landscape management. He is also a qualified credential inspector and with these skills he can stay current.
“I need to know as much as I can in order to stay on top of everything,” he said. “That way when I am discussing a specific problem, I know what I am talking about. I have a good group of people working with me and we want to do the best we can.”
Jerkins was born and raised in the Ridge Road area east of East Brewton. He attended the county school system and graduated from W.S. Neal High School in 1990. He worked for a few months at Jefferson Davis Community College in maintenance before coming to work for the city 23 years ago.
He and his wife, Tracey, have one son and one granddaughter.