January 23, 2013

Statue could honor Dalton pioneer

Charles Oliver

— Catherine Evans Whitener helped put Dalton on the map more than a century ago. Now one Georgia sculptor wants to help the city honor her.

“I want to produce a piece of art that Dalton will be proud to display,” said McDonough-based sculptor Andy Davis.

Whitener revived the tradition of tufting patterns onto bedspreads in the 1890s. Her efforts  helped make Dalton a hub for bedspread companies, which in turn developed into the modern floorcovering industry. And Davis said that as an inventor and creator he had long considered her one of his heroes.

“She helped give us many of the opportunities we have,” he said.

Davis’s work has been displayed across the world and includes the statue of Ray Charles in Ray Charles Plaza in Albany and a statue of Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy in Griffin.

Davis asked council members Tuesday night for help in raising funds for the statue and to find a place in Dalton to display it. He said that it could be a tourist attraction. Council members did not vote on the request, but they said it is one they will get behind.

“This is something we’ve been talking about for three or four years anyway. We have several places we could put it. The Dalton Green, where the fountain was at the courthouse, a park we are planning at the old Mohawk building on Hamilton Street,” said Mayor David Pennington. “We’ll want to get input from the public on where we put it.”

Also Tuesday night, council members voted 4-0 to approve an $8,200 contract with Dalton’s Kirkman Architects to develop a master plan for the Dalton Green. City Administrator Ty Ross said the plan will look at how the site of the old City Park School building — the building was demolished last year — and perhaps other properties can be integrated into the park. He said the agreement calls for the architect to work with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, the Downtown Dalton Development Authority and other “stakeholders” to develop a long-range plan for Dalton Green,

Council members also voted 4-0 to:

• Approve a beer pouring license for Marco’s Pizza at 785 Shugart Road, Suite 8.

• Install stop signs on eastbound and westbound Willowdale Road at Kimberly Park Drive.