Grant money will not be used to purchase likeness of Washington

Published 11:57 pm Sunday, September 17, 2017

Part of a $50,000 grant the City of Washington received for downtown redevelopment will not be spent on buying and installing a sculpture (probably bronze) of George Washington seated on a park bench to the city’s downtown area.

That decision by consensus was made during the City Council’s Sept. 11 meeting, when the council voted to accept the grant and allocate $40,000 for the city’s façade-grant program, with emphasis on the rear facades of buildings that can be seen from Stewart Parkway and the waterfront, and $10,000 for landscaping.

At the council’s Aug. 14 meeting, Mayor Mac Hodges said he would like some of the grant funding to be used for the sculpture project, which would allow visitors and others to have photographic opportunities with one of the nation’s most historic figures At the Sept. 11 meeting, Hodges changed his tune about using part of the grant dollars on the project. Instead, he intimated, the project could be accomplished through a fundraising effort, possibly a public-private partnership.

During the public-comments section of the meeting, Jennifer Small addressed the issue of how to spend the grant money. “I think you were talking about getting a statue of Washington. I beg you, please, don’t do that,” she said.

“OK. We won’t. We’re not,” Hodges said.

“I think the money can just be used a little bit wiser than having a statue,” Small said.

“He (statue of Washington) came in way over budget. So, we’ll save you that trouble. George is gone,” the mayor said.

In other business, Councilman Doug Mercer said he would like for the city to revisit the effort to feed feral cats in downtown Washington. In 2012, the city established a policy that governs that feeding program. Mercer said it’s time to evaluate that policy and its effectiveness.

In 2013, the council amended the city code to provide an exemption for certain groups and/or individuals to feed feral cats in specific areas of the city. Anyone else feeding animals in those areas will be violating the city code and be subject to a $50 civil fine for each violation. Exemptions, if granted, are subject to annual renewal by the council or withdrawn by the council at any time and for any reason.

Mercer said he does not believe the council has been making the annual renewals.

The council also decriminalized such violations. Previously, such violations were treated as misdemeanors. The amendment approved by the council also further defines where the feeding of animals is prohibited.


The prohibition includes all city-owned parks, facilities, boardwalks, roads, easements and rights of way including, but not limited to, the following areas:

  • Downtown — area further defined by Bridge Street on the west, Bonner Street on the east, Second Street on the north and the federal channel of the Pamlico River on the south (private single-family residences within the outlined area are exempt from these restrictions);
  • Festival Park;
  • Havens Garden;
  • Veterans Park; and
  • Boardwalk along the Pamlico River.

Exemptions may be allowed provided the group or individual provides the following information to the council:

  • Overall program description and purpose of program;
  • Locations where animals are to be fed;
  • Times that feeding will occur — times shall be limited to no more than one hour per day;
  • List of individuals (with up-to-date contact information for those people) who will be overseeing the feeding;
  • Disposition of animals fed and/or caught, including, but not limited to, number of animals, locations of animals caught and released and medical procedures or vaccines given; and
  • Any other information, plan and/or requirement the council may impose or require from said individuals or groups.




About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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