Mural honoring late Chatham County Commissioner James Holmes missing from local park

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A large painted mural honoring the late Chatham County Commissioner James “Coach” Holmes is missing.

The mural was placed at Mother Matilda Beasley Park on East Broad on May 1 to honor the work of the longtime leader who died of COVID-19 last year.

“It’s a large mural, so I’m very surprised that it wasn’t here last week,” said Joe Shearouse, who is the assistant to the Savannah City Manager.

Shearouse says the City of Savannah worked with the Holmes family to put the mural on the park fence temporarily. He said parties were in the process of getting a permit for a permanent location for the mural, and the family had hoped that would be somewhere inside the park on the building.

Shearouse said the mural was secured, and since it was 4 feet by 8 feet, it could not have been easily moved.

“It represents Commissioner Holmes, who served this neighborhood and this particular area,” said Shearouse. “Considering the symbolic value of what it meant to this community, for it to go missing is just extremely disappointing.”

The Holmes family wanted the mural here to remind people of their loved one’s service.

“I shared him with the community on May the first,” said Holmes’s niece, Sandra Simmons. “He was going to be here for that purpose because he ‘was’ the community. That mural matters.”

Shearouse says they don’t have a motive and it’s not clear if the mural was taken because of the popularity of the local artist, Panhandle Slim.

He says they don’t want to press charges and simply want the mural back or want to hear from anyone who may have information. Shearouse says to call 912-651-6675 with any related information.

Meanwhile, Simmons says she has already spoken to Panhandle Slim, who says he will paint another mural if necessary.

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