MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - It's the end of an era for one Montgomery city employee.
Deputy Mayor Jeff Downes is retiring after 25 years and taking a job as City Manager in Vestavia Hills near Birmingham.
Now that word is out, Downes admits it's bittersweet.
"I don't cry a lot."
But knowing 25 years are coming to a close--many of which were served as Montgomery's second in command, "I got emotional. My heart's been with this city," he says.
Jeff Downes' fingerprints are everywhere--from north, to south, east and west Montgomery.
He has watched buildings go up and come down, all in an effort to improve life here.
"I think we're at one of the high points of our entire existence as a city."
And perhaps the one project sticking out the most?
"The Alley project that was laid on my desk as a project back in 2004."
He says it revolutionized the heart of the city.
"Something that's since become the core of some great things in downtown Montgomery."
Downes' role in Vestavia Hills will incorporate many of the things he is used to doing here, like development projects, to add charm to there.
"I did want to take my talents and be able to go to a place that could receive those skills and talents."
And even though he's leaving Montgomery, he is certain Montgomery will never leave him.
"My friends, my family, my acquaintances, my co-workers, my colleagues, my entire network that's been built through my 46 years of life are here in Montgomery, Alabama. This is my home."
Downes is now working to tie up some loose ends. He wants to see the State House Inn demolished before he leaves. He also wants to see further Dexter Avenue development take place. He says it won't be long before there is more activity there.
Downes' last day is July 3rd. No word yet on who will fill his position.