Business reacts to Civic Center task force reccommendations -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Business reacts to Civic Center task force recommendations

By Tayleigh Davis - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -A community task force wants to see changes at the Albany Civic Center. The city spends more than $1.2 million a year to operate the Civic Center and Municipal Auditorium.

Critics say those venues lose too much money and bring in too few events. The task force says the city needs to go on a public relations offensive to convince people of the venues' worth.

These girls at Pink Slipper School of Dance rehearse for their annual recital. Owner Shelly Moore is piecing together last minute plans for the event two weeks from now.

"Being there last year with security, lighting, event coordinators and staff it was well worth the money but we did have to go up on our ticket pricing," said Moore.

Tickets were $5 to $8 when she held the recital at Lee County High School's Auditorium. Now they're $10 to $12 at the Municipal Auditorium to cover facility fees, event staff, staging, lights, and security to keep her dancers and guests safe.

"When you plan an event you want to make money but you also have to include all the factors including the venue price," said Thronateeska Heritage Foundation Director Tommy Gregors.

The Civic Center costs roughly $4,000 to host an event. Tommy Gregors served on a task force that recommended at least decreasing fees for rental rooms there to attract more business.

More than 100 events took place at the two venues last year, but the force wants to improve the public's perception of the facilities and offer non-profit and community groups reduced rates at the auditorium.

As Moore seeks the best facility for her dancers, the citizens task force seeks the best strategies to keep the facilities booked at reasonable prices.

The task force also recommended trying to attract high school basketball tournaments back to the Civic Center and offering tours at the Municipal Auditorium to show off its history.

The task force says the Civic Center and Municipal Auditorium had an overall impact on the city of more than $8 million last year. They say the tax money used to keep them open is an investment, not a subsidy.

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