Kenneth "Super T" Simpson has been selected as the executive director for the Front Porch Alliance.
The Christian organization connects stakeholders for the revitalization of inner-city neighborhoods.
The group works with local churches, community organizations and government leaders to serve the community through a variety of projects.
Mr. Simpson replaces the Rev. Al Chapman, who died recently. Rev. Chapman was the group's founder.
Mr. Simpson, who was an admired leader in the city recreation department for 30 years, was honored by the City Council.
Former Mayor Ron Littlefield was among those taking part in the tribute.
Councilman Anthony Byrd told him, "If it wasn't for you, I probably would not be sitting in this chair."
Another council member, Demetrus Coonrod, said he had been a big brother to her, giving her wise campaign advice when she decided to become a candidate. She said when she lost her fiancee in an auto accident and it was a strain to get her daughter into college that Mr. Simpson came through with a check.
Councilmen Russell Gilbert and Ken Smith noted that he had often dipped into his own funds to help a needy child.
Councilman Gilbert noted he is referred to as "the mayor of the Southside."