Will money for ASU arts center stay in budget? - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Will money for ASU arts center stay in budget?

By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – A performing arts center for Albany State University is on the top of the list for state and city leaders. The Governor's budget includes almost $2 Million for design plans, but will that money stay in the budget?

Senator Freddie Powell Sims says the Governor tells her it's in the budget to stay.

Albany State University has been hoping and planning for a new fine arts center for years. Money has been included in state budget plans before, but has always been cut before a final budget passed.

Sen. Sims said, "Budgets are tight, we are extremely tight."

Yet $1.8 Million dollars is back in the budget this year for design plans for the center.  Sims said, "It's not a lot that we're asking for, but it's needed."

Senator Freddie Powell Sims says this year it's more likely that the money will come through. There are fewer requests from the board of regents and this item has been on the list for years.  She said, "We do need that design money. We need the classroom space. We've needed it for a very long time. The governor says it's in the budget and I have no reason other than to believe that it will happen this year . It's going to happen."

City leaders are working towards that end, too. Lobbyists hired by the city are working to keep the money in the budget.  Assistant City Manager Wes Smith said, "We're reasonably confident that it can stay in it, of course, last year at the last minute, it was pulled out, so you can't be too confident, but we are certainly doing everything we can and we've advised our state delegates how important it is and we trust them to do their best to keep it in there."

The money included in this year's budget is only for the design of the building. It does not include money for construction.

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