Lowndes County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday morning to appoint Joe Beckett, local businessman and antebellum homeowner, to the board of the Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Beckett will replace former board member Mark Castleberry, who resigned from the board a few months ago due to his relocation to Starkville. That unexpired term will end in February 2021.
Beckett, who moved to Columbus in 1989, worked for Alpha Insurance in Columbus as a claim manager for three to four years. He now owns Beckett Construction, an adjusting company managing homeowner claims and liability claims.
The businessman also purchased the Haley Reeves Home, a circa 1838 antebellum home on Seventh Street South, a few months ago, he said.
“I had a chance to work on it,” he said. “I’m gonna restore it back to its 1838 day.”
Once the place is restored, Beckett said he would live in it and plan to open it for tours.
Beckett said he applied for the position due to his passion about Columbus’ past and present.
“I’ve just always been very involved and interested in town activity involvement,” he said. “I love the old homes and the history. … One of my passions is to try to make it a place where everybody just wants to come and visit.”
Beckett said he hopes to bring his knowledge of the insurance industry and his connections through the job to help boost Columbus’ tourism.
At the Tuesday board meeting, only three of the five supervisors were present to take the vote. Leroy Brooks and Jeff Smith, supervisors from districts 4 and 5, were absent.
Harry Sanders, county board of supervisors president, said he voted for Beckett because District 3 Supervisor John Holliman recommended Beckett to the board.
Sanders said he does not know much about Beckett other than that he’s a home remodeler and antebellum homeowner. However, he said, the other candidate Kathy Howell owns a home in New York and spends the bulk of her time there.
“I don’t think she could get the time in (to serve on the board),” Sanders said.
Holliman did not answer several inquiries from The Dispatch by press time.
A total of nine members sit on CVB’s board, including four city appointees, four county appointees and one jointly appointed by both the city and county. City and county officials have now filled all vacancies on the board.
The CVB promotes tourism throughout Lowndes County through marketing a support for events. It is funded through a portion of a 2-percent sales tax collected from restaurants in the Columbus city limits.
Yue Stella Yu was previously a reporter for The Dispatch.
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