MAGNOLIA SPRINGS - Mayor Bob Holk of Magnolia Springs officially resigned from his position as of Oct. 14. Councilmember Kim Koniar was voted to fill the position of Magnolia Springs mayor for the remainder of the term, leaving her previous seat one position vacant. Though the resignation may seem sudden, it was something Holk believes is the right move.
“I’d already made up my mind that I was not going to run for reelection, and I’d told people as much so that they would know and could make their plans,” he said. “I look at this as a positive thing. I have no regrets, it just seemed like the timing was right.”
Holk was among the committee who helped form the town over ten years ago, and has served on the council in some fashion for thirteen years, almost since the town’s incorporation. He said he isn’t burned out or tired of serving, but due to a few recent developments he believes it’s in the town’s best interest for him to step down at this time.
“One major reason is that a little over a year ago I purchased the property behind Jesse’s Restaurant that’s right on the river,” Holk said. “It’s a great piece of property, I feel it’s something that needs to be involved in the growth of Magnolia Springs, but I never dreamed it would become so contentious.”
Over the course of the year, the property has been a focus during numerous council meetings, with citizens voicing concerns over an added driveway leading to the river, the adverse effects such a construction could have on the river, and the property’s commercial zoning potentially leading to a business construction being built, such as a bed and breakfast or a mixed-use facility. Holk stated that he’s spent the last year on the development of the property, and now after closing on two large pieces of property he plans to put more focus on developing the land behind Jesse’s.
“I feel as I’ve done everything in the right concerning the property, but it’s still been contentious,” he said. “Part of my decision to resign is because I don’t want to spend a whole year putting the council in turmoil. By being mayor it’s very difficult to sit up there and run the meeting during public comment in this particular situation; it made it almost impossible for me to really defend myself. I’m personally excited and anxious to do something special with the property, but I know that not everyone will be happy. I think it’s only fair to the town and mainly the councilmembers that me not being mayor will hopefully take some of the heartache off of them.”
Holk cited another reason for his resignation was the council’s recent decision to purchase the property 12395 Magnolia Springs Highway to be remodeled into a new town hall and library. Although the majority of the council was behind the decision, Holk says he had his concerns over the purchase and wished “more time had been taken to explore other opportunities.” He says the original comprehensive plans for the town had the town center closer to Jesse’s Restaurant, and he wanted more citizen input before the final decision was made.
“The property purchase may be the best decision ever, and I hope that it is and that it works out to be great,” he said. “But as mayor I think it’s going to take a lot of work, and I think it deserved somebody who’s 100% behind it- that’s what the mayor needs to be. Though I would certainly do everything that the majority voted to do, I don’t know that my heart was in it.”
He says that with this decision, he doesn’t plan on leaving the Springs anytime soon, and he and his wife Lolly are remaining in town to support the future of the town and the council.
“I want to thank the citizens of Magnolia Springs for allowing me to serve on the council and then as mayor, and I’m looking forward to the future of the town,” he said. “The town is probably just as financially strong as any town in Baldwin County based on population and budget, so that’s a great thing. I think we’ve got a very dedicated group of councilmembers and I’m sure whoever they choose to come on board with them will be the same. There’s no doubt in my mind that each one of them is looking to do the very best for Magnolia Springs.”
With a seat now vacant, the council is asking anyone who is interested in serving on the council to submit letters of interest to Jenny White, Town Clerk/Treasurer, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by regular mail to the Town of Magnolia Springs, PO Box 890, Magnolia Springs, AL 36555. Those interested must be a registered voter and a resident within the Town of Magnolia Springs town limits. Letters will be accepted up until Tue., Nov. 19 at 5 p.m., and the appointment of the position will be made during the Nov. council meeting that same day.