Ground broken for Ray Charles Plaza - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Ground broken for Ray Charles Plaza

  • More WALB News10 HeadlinesMore News HeadlinesMore>>

  • Charge up free in Tifton

    Charge up free in Tifton

    Thursday, July 24 2014 5:40 PM EDT2014-07-24 21:40:12 GMT
    The newest Tesla Model S supercharger is in Tifton, behind Starbucks right of Interstate 75. Drivers can use any of the eight charging stations free.More >>
    The newest Tesla Model S supercharger is in Tifton, behind Starbucks right of Interstate 75. Drivers can use any of the eight charging stations free.More >>
  • Valdosta chamber helping South GA businesses save money

    Valdosta chamber helping South GA businesses save money

    Thursday, July 24 2014 5:34 PM EDT2014-07-24 21:34:53 GMT
    The Valdosta-Lowndes County chamber is helping South Georgia businesses save money on workers compensation premiums.The chamber is part of the state-run program called "DRUGS DON"T WORK," which is being sponsored locally by Peaceway Counseling and Mediation Services in Valdosta.More >>
    The Valdosta-Lowndes County chamber is helping South Georgia businesses save money on workers compensation premiums.The chamber is part of the state-run program called "DRUGS DON"T WORK," which is being sponsored locally by Peaceway Counseling and Mediation Services in Valdosta.More >>
  • Moultrie man burglarized during hospital stay

    Moultrie man burglarized during hospital stay

    Thursday, July 24 2014 5:20 PM EDT2014-07-24 21:20:47 GMT
    A Moultrie man came home from the hospital to an empty entertainment system and window. Tommy Edwards was in the hospital for 10 days after getting an infection.More >>
    A Moultrie man came home from the hospital to an empty entertainment system and window. Tommy Edwards was in the hospital for 10 days after getting an infection.More >>

June 4, 2007

Albany --  A two million dollar project that hopes to put Albany on the minds of tourists broke ground Monday downtown.

Construction of Ray Charles Plaza along Front Street near the Flint River is expected to begin in the next two weeks. The park will showcase a life size statue of "The Genius" and feature his music. When complete in four months the project hopes to bring music lovers from far and wide to Charles' birthplace.

Two years of planning, five months of sculpting, and now the sounds of a musical genius can be heard faintly in the distance. The Ray Charles statue that will grace Albany's riverfront is a week away from completion.

"Ray's at the foundry. Right now they're putting on the patina which is basically the colorizing and protecting the bronze casting itself so that it wears properly in the elements, but he's ready to go," said Sculptor Andy Davis

In the next two weeks, construction will start on the plaza that will hold Andy Davis' statue and honor a master who always had Georgia... and home... on his mind.

"I think he would really appreciate this because this is home and anytime home recognizes you, you really appreciate that," said Marye Wright, Ray Charles' Second Cousin.

While both Albany and Ray Charles faced obstacles... the city hopes like Ray, it can overcome the problems it's had attracting tourists.

"Ray Charles I think embodies a lot about downtown Albany and a lot about the community of Albany in that Ray Charles overcome to represent what we hope to do in downtown Albany and revitalize downtown Albany," says Greg McCormack, ATI Interim Director.

Hoping the sweet sounds of a native son will bring not only tourists to downtown, but also new business.

"I would say it's on more reason to have an entertainment district, I think it's something everybody would like to have. We'd like to look at downtown Albany and find out ways we can improve it and I think this is certainly one of the ways that will help," says McCormack.

Family members it would have made Ray smile. "He would be smiling as he you know would always rock and smile so he would be doing that," said Wright.

To know that he may be able to help his home town in some way.

Crews hope to have a substantial amount of the plaza's work completed in time for what would have been Ray Charles 77th birthday on September 23rd. The officials opening of the plaza is scheduled for October.

Feedback: news@walb.com?subject=RayPlaza/JE