02/01/04 — Jimmy Bryan excited about new council seat

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Jimmy Bryan excited about new council seat

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on February 1, 2004 2:02 AM

Offices for City Councilman-Elect Jimmy Bryan's business are right behind the water tower in downtown Goldsboro. It's no coincidence that Bryan, who is scheduled to be sworn in Monday as the city's newest councilman, chose downtown over the industrial park location where many people were urging him to build.

He loves Goldsboro, he says, and believes in downtown revitalization.

And after months of waiting, he can now be sworn in, after a judge's ruling Thursday. The judge denied J.B. Rhodes' request to stay Bryan's swearing in until his appeal of the election results was heard. Rhodes was originally declared the winner in District 1, but subsequent recounts showed he lost by one vote.

Bryan didn't have anything to say about the three-month wait, except that he's "excited about serving the people of Goldsboro."

Bryan, 57, is a Wayne County native and graduated from Goldsboro High School in 1964. He then went to Guilford College and majored in health and physical education before playing baseball for the Chicago Cubs minor league farm system for five years.

In 1968, he married Martha Gibson. Before settling back in Wayne County he taught school for a year in Greensboro. After that he and long-time friend Rooster Narron decided to open a store, Sportsman's World, in Goldsboro in 1973.

"I was interested in retail because my dad ran a country store," Bryan said. "And I had the background in sports."

The store was originally on Cashwell Drive, but opened at a new location on Ash Street in 2001. The offices for the store are on Holly Street, between James and George streets.

He and his wife have a son, Stewart, and a daughter, Amy. Stewart is president of BNB Designs in Goldsboro, while Amy and her husband, Roger, live in Chattanooga, Tenn. with Max, the Bryans' 4-year-old grandson.

His wife is a retired school teacher, she taught at North Drive School.

Bryan has served several organizations over the years including the Goldsboro Appearance Committee, Keep Wayne County Beautiful, the Military Affairs Committee, the Chamber of Commerce board of directors, the Red Cross board of directors, the Boy Scouts and the Finance Committee at First Baptist Church.

After serving on several committees, he began thinking about running for office.

"Being on the committees, I wanted to get in a position where I felt like I could do something about the problems," he said.

Though Bryan believes that the city has several important issues facing it, he also thinks that the appearance of the city affects growth and economic development.

"When people come into town, they see what's on the surface," he said. "And if it doesn't look good, they don't want to come here. In my opinion, the small things mean a lot to people when they are looking to locate somewhere new."

Bryan promotes having a civic center in Goldsboro, but is reserving judgment on location until all the studies are completed.

"I'm not saying 100 percent to put it downtown," he said, "but if the numbers are there, it should be downtown."

He also sees a strong school system as an essential ingredient in attracting people to live in Wayne County.

Bryan knows that the City Council isn't directly involved with the school system, but said he believes it's important to work with, and encourage, the people involved in the system.

Keeping Seymour Johnson Air Force base in Goldsboro is something else that Bryan feels is a top priority for the city.

"We've got to make sure it stays here," he said.

Though he is the first to admit that he doesn't have all the answers to the city's problems, Bryan says he is ready to do his part to make things better.

"There's no magic answer to all the problems, and I know you can't satisfy everyone," he said. "But I'm excited about getting a chance to serve, and work for the citizens."