Sales tax money divided up -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Sales tax money divided up

August 31, 2004

Albany - From relocations to renovations, a lot of changes are on the way in Albany if voters say yes to a continuation of the local sales tax. The Albany Museum of Art is moving downtown thanks, in part, to the future sales tax revenue.

"The goal will be to be downtown in the next 12 to 18 months," said Director Aaron Berger. City and county commissioners voted to give the Museum of Art $3-million in sales tax money to relocate. That's thousands less than the Museum asked for, but Director Aaron Berger says he can raise the rest. "There will be a local campaign. We'll be looking to our friends, neighbors, and supporters that we've had over the last 40 years for their support to make this happen too."

Eleven community projects made SPLOST requests. Nine will get some money, but some projects must scale back plans or fund raise. The Civil Rights Museum will get $3.5-million, Chehaw Park will receive $2-million, and the Flint Riverquarium will get $1-million for a "Theater in the Trees" exhibit. Thronateesaka is set to get $3.5-million for a new Planetarium.

The Greenway trail won't extend to Radium Springs just yet, but a bridge across the river to Albany State University and the Bridge House renovations were okayed. Businessman Peter Studl was happy to find out the Holeman Mule Barn downtown will be saved. "The first goal was to preserve the building. In anybody's book, $500,000 is still a lot of money," said Studl.

In all, city and county commissioners set aside about $22-million in sales tax money for these community projects, which means they'll have to make cuts elsewhere. It was a hard decision that will keep Albany growing, if voters agree to the tax.

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