The Portland community lost another leader with the recent death of former Mayor Dan Jenkins.
Jenkins served two terms on the Portland City Council and was mayor from 1997- 2001. He had a vision for Portland and was able to accomplish many projects that continue today to make it a great place to live. His legacy will continue.
Jenkins was a successful businessman. He owned and operated Dan’s Furniture and Appliance for 37 years. People have items purchased at his store in their homes today. Many young married couples went to Dan’s to purchase furniture and appliances, when they established their homes.
He was an active member of Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church. He served as one of the church’s song leaders, as well as treasurer, Sunday school teacher, and committee member.
He was an active member of the Portland Jaycees, Portland Chamber of Commerce, and other civic organizations. He was also active with the Little League program. He served his community for fifty years.
Portland Director of Economic and Community Development Denise Geminden said, “Dan Jenkins exhibited an exceptional dedication to Portland. His commitment reached beyond the duties of mayor; he understood the importance of fulfilling civic obligations that are a crucial part of building a community's character.”
While there is a long list of Jenkins accomplishments as mayor, he was most proud of the Richland Park Development. He promoted the purchase of the land where the park was built, which was not without opposition. Today, Richland Park is known as one of the states finest park facilities. Richland Park was just one of the projects that Jenkins was able to complete or proposed. According to records kept at city hall, the list includes some of the following items:
*Land Use Committee was established
*Sewer provided to the Tennessee Welcome Center at I-65
*Established a Sumner County Auto Emission Test and Licensing Center in Portland
*Drakewood Sewer Project Completed
*Farmers Market became a reality
*Food Lion Shopping Center of Portland Ventures completed
*Land Use Committee was established
*Housing rehabilitation project which provided funds to help citizens bring their homes up to standard codes, when unable to do so
*Proposed construction of a civic center
*Proposed a down town revitalization program
He was mayor when the new millennium was ushered in which included purchasing a clock and erecting it on the lawn of the Fred J. White Municipal Building. On Dec. 31, 1999, a midnight ceremony was held around the clock. Those assembled offered a prayer and sang the National Anthem.
A time capsule was buried at the north edge of the clock platform.
Mayor Mike Callis said, “Mayor Jenkins will be missed, and his service to the city and to the community is greatly appreciated. His work on Richland Park is a legacy we all are proud of. I personally am thankful for his advice to me on being a public servant.”
According to former Mayor Ken Wilber, he remembers Jenkins being very involved in and interested in young people and supported their activities, such as Little League, sports, and other school activities. Wilber remembers that when he was a senior in high school, Jenkins took the whole football team to Cherokee Steakhouse for a meal.
Wilber said, “He also was involved in getting the state to widen 109, instead of waiting for the bypass. He was very visionary for wanting Portland to grow in the right way.”
Jenkins was the son of the late Mallie Delno Jenkins and Marvin Kirk Jenkins. The family moved to Portland when he was in his teens from Jackson County. He graduated from Sumner County High School in 1958.
He and his wife Charlotte Faye Kirkham Jenkins recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. They had two children, Jeffery (Shelley) and Jason (Sarah), five grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. His obituary can be found on The Portland Sun Facebook page.