Amerson takes up permanent stand at Macon Water Authority

Sculpture dedicated at treatment plant

jgaines@macon.comApril 8, 2014 

About 100 people gathered Tuesday in front of the water treatment plant named for the late Frank C. Amerson Jr. for the dedication of a slightly larger-than-life bronze sculpture of him.

The sculpture faces Javors Lucas Lake in the distance, the reservoir that Amerson, a former chairman of the Macon Water Authority, worked years to create.

“I know that his spirit is here with this statue, overlooking these 6 billion gallons of water,” said his son Carl Amerson.

Carl Amerson thanked the day’s other speakers, the authority and sculptor Julie McCraney-Brogdon.

In early 2013 the authority commissioned McCraney-Brogsdon to create two sculptures of Amerson for $106,600: a bust, now installed at the authority’s Second Street office, and the full-length representation dedicated Tuesday.

In the crowd were Macon Water Authority employees, current and former board members, candidates for currently open seats, members of the Bibb County legislative delegation, Macon-Bibb County officials and other Amerson family members.

Amerson joined the authority’s board in 1976, became its chairman in 1982 and continued in that office until his death at age 83 in September 2012. During that time, water and sewer service expanded throughout Bibb County, and the authority added services to Byron as well as Jones and Monroe counties. Amerson left the utility with greatly expanded capacity and solid finances.

After the 1994 flood destroyed an existing water treatment plant, he lobbied for federal disaster relief money to build the new, larger one that bears his name. In the end, local sources only had to provide about 5 percent of the $116 million cost.

“Frank Amerson used trouble to create hope,” said Kirby Godsey, current board chairman. Amerson set up Macon for a “golden age of water resources” even as other Georgia cities struggle, creating the potential for major economic growth, Godsey said.

“Frank Amerson was not just a dreamer. He was a doer,” he said.

Civilizations rose and fell on their stewardship of resources such as water, said Tony Rojas, the authority’s executive director. He hoped that Amerson’s presence in bronze would inspire those present Tuesday and future generations to take care of what Amerson created.

Rojas pointed out McCraney-Brogdon in the crowd.

“I think we can all agree that Julie has truly captured the essence of Frank in his prime,” he said.

To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.

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