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The Smackover City Council scheduled a dedication ceremony for a memorial to late City Council member Tommie Sue Fleming Monday evening during their regular meeting.

In May, the Council discussed adding a commemorative bench at Tennyson Park in memory of Fleming, who passed away last May.

Fleming served on the Council for 12 years, where she supported measures to help Smackover’s economy, protect the city’s children and promote tourism.

“The greatest strength [is] the people of Smackover. They make Smackover the place it is and where you want to live and bring up a family,” Fleming once responded to a News-Times questionnaire for candidates for public office.

Originally from Smackover, she left the region during childhood, graduating high school in Texas, where she later worked as a computer technician. After returning to Smackover in the late 1990’s, Fleming took over management of the Smackover Chamber of Commerce, where she helped to organize the city’s yearly Oil Town Festival.

Fleming was also a member of the Arkansas’ South Regional Tourism Association board of directors. In 2014, the board helped increase tourism revenue for the six counties covered by the ASRTA to $105 million, more than a $914,000 increase from 2013.

After Fleming’s death, her seat representing Ward 2 of Smackover on its City Council sat vacant for over three months with only four applicants in over 75 days.

In September, then-Justice of the Peace-elect Donald Brock stepped up for the job; however, he resigned at the start of the year after taking his position on the Quorum Court.

The search began again after Brock’s resignation, but lasted only 42 days this time around. Jeff Price was appointed to the Ward 2 Council position in early February, where he has continued to serve since.

Rick East, recorder/treasurer for the City of Smackover, said Fleming’s classmates wanted to memorialize her.

“Her classmates from school … all gave pretty big donations and the city paid for the rest of it,” he said in a previous interview, explaining how the new park bench was paid for.

The new park bench will be made of concrete and about eight feet long, he said. There will be a plaque commemorating Fleming’s service to the city. East said the bench should be easy to maintain because of the materials it will be made of.

The bench will be placed and dedicated at Tennyson Park on July 17 at noon. All are welcome to attend.

Caitlan Butler can be reached at 870-862-6611 or cbutler@eldoradonews.com.

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