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City revives attempt to bring Washington statue to waterfront

George Washington never slept in Washington, but a statue of him could sit on a bench somewhere on the city’s waterfront.

During its July 9 meeting, Washington’s City Council decided to again explore the possibility of erecting a statue of the city’s namesake if the price is right. Last year, the city looked at that possibility, eventually deciding not to use part of a $50,000 grant the city received for downtown redevelopment on buying and installing a sculpture (probably bronze) of George Washington seated on a park bench in the city’s downtown area.

That decision by consensus was made during the City Council’s Sept. 11, 2017, 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 meeting last week, Mayor Mac Hodges said he showed Ted Clayton, welding instructor at Beaufort County Community College, a photo of a George Washington statue sitting on a bench. Clayton indicated students in BCCC’s welding program could attach a statue of Washington to a bench, Hodges said.

“They do quality work. All you’d have to pay for with him is materials. He said it would probably cost less than $3,000. … He couldn’t see why it would be anymore than that. … There’ a place in Rocky Mount that dips them in bronze, if you wanted to bronze it,” Hodges said. “He thought it was about $500, in that neighborhood. … I think it would make a great tourist attraction.”

Locating the statue and bench in an area that provides a view of the Pamlico River would allow visitors and others to have photographic opportunities with a likeness of one of the nation’s most historic figures, Hodges explained.

Councilman Doug Mercer suggested the city obtain from Clayton a detailed estimate of the cost of the potential project. “If he’ll give us a more detailed estimate than his conversation with you — (he) thinks it’s going to be so and so. Let him go ahead and figure the price of his materials and give us an estimate,” Mercer said.

 

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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