Former Albany state rep. concerned with condition of Ray Charles Plaza
ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - For many, Albany is known as the birthplace of Ray Charles.
John White, a former state representative for Albany and who was responsible for bringing the Ray Charles Plaza to downtown Albany, sent a complaint to the city about the upkeep of the plaza.
The Ray Charles Plaza was built in 2007 and has since been an attraction for everyone who comes to the Good Life City. White said the area around the statue is unkempt and deteriorating.
“That’s a masterpiece we have in the city and as I walked around I saw the bricks on the walls, the seating area, the concrete was chewed away, chipped away. I’m not sure how that happened of course,” White said.
In his time here, White was the representative for Albany State University and contributed heavily to establishing “Georgia On My Mind” as the state’s official song. So when he visited Albany a few weeks ago, White said he was “hurt and embarrassed to find the Ray Charles Plaza in such a state of disrepair.”
“So I’ve decided to write them a letter and share with them what I saw and question why it is in that condition at this point,” he said.
In his letter, White said when he saw the plaza, there was no music playing and several bricks were broken. On Tuesday, WALB News 10 went to the plaza and while there was music playing, there were several bricks that were either misplaced or broken.
“This goes back to what I was saying, you get one chance to make a good impression. Obviously, a majority of the folks that come to Ray Charles Plaza are visitors. So, we need to address those concerns assuming that the city owns the plaza,” Albany Mayor Bo Dorough said at Tuesday’s Albany City Commission meeting.
White said he plans to come back up to Albany to take a deeper look at the city and he is currently awaiting a response from the city commission and the mayor.
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