February 5, 2007
AUGUSTA, Ga.---The Godfather's statue has been lifted up...now Commissioner Marion Williams wants to light it up. Commissioner Williams says he's ready to jazz up James Brown's statue with lights and music.
But some leaders say he may be moving too fast.
It was also Commissioner William's idea to raise the statue. It took some convincing, but the Commission finally got on board with the idea and made it happen.
Now he's hoping the same will happen with this new idea.
"To try to put some stage light across in front of the statue, add some kind of coin operated machine, that when you put money in, the lights will flash," Commissioner Williams said.
Williams, along with James Brown tribute artist Tony Wilson, will ask the Commission Tuesday to enhance the statue by adding lights, music, and possibly audio narrating the life of a legend...in hopes of bringing in tourists and money.
"I hope this government understands that you can spend a little money to get a lot of money coming in," Williams said.
But Mayor Deke Copenhaver, who's been in contact with the Brown's daughter Deanna, says Williams may be moving too fast.
"I think we need to defer to the family and consult with them about their wishes," Mayor Copenhaver said.
The mayor also says the changes may do more taking away than adding.
"I think it does make it more gimmicky," he said. "Right now, it's a way for people to come and remember Mr. Brown in a quiet setting."
Williams says there's no need to get the family's opinion, because this is the city's statue.
He says it's time for the Commission to finally step up and use the Godfather's popularity to get tax dollars into Augusta.
"This is not a gimmick," he said. "This is about people coming in who love James Brown. Those who don't want to put any money in the machine to hear won't do it."
There's no word on how much this would all cost.
Commissioners will take up the issue tomorrow.