Storm clouds gather against Civic Center - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Storm clouds gather against Civic Center

Civic Center Director Maddie Goddard Civic Center Director Maddie Goddard
Interim City Manager Lemuel Edwards Interim City Manager Lemuel Edwards
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January 18, 2005

Albany-- Some concerned business leaders say the Civic Center is on a path toward failure, and if changes aren't made soon, the Civic Center will fail.

The owner of the Wildcats and executives from the Albany Symphony, WALB-TV, and Clear Channel Radio all say they've had bad experiences with the Civic Center.

Now the interim city manager is taking the complaint straight to Civic Center Director Maddie Goddard.

The South Georgia Wildcats are set to kick-off their first season in Albany in April, but now some Albany business leaders fear the new attraction and other events are in jeopardy of failure-- because of poor leadership at the Civic Center.

So a group of six businesses, including Wildcats owner Mike Storen, sent a letter to the City Manager and Commissioners asking for improvements to the leadership and business practices at the venue. "If it has merit and they have backed up what they have stated, we will work towards a solution for those problems," said Interim City Manager Lem Edwards. "I think that we can do that."

Interim City Manager Lem Edwards says he's going straight the Civic Center Director Maddie Goddard. "I think that we need give her a chance to explain her situation."

The letter states promoters, clients, and event sponsors are in agreement about the civic center.

  • "The business atmosphere of the building is one of hostility operating under air of negativity."

And, that...

  • "In many cases have caused the individuals or organizations to simply stop doing business with the Civic Center."

"There are some real, great concerns I have about that letter," Maddie Goddard said. "There are a lot of things in that letter that I was not aware of."

Goddard says she taking the concerns seriously and plans to respond to the letter. She denies that civic center administration is hurting business, especially with the Wildcats. "I have some ideas about the way that can be resolved, and we mean to do just that by working with Mr. Storen in every way we can. The City is 100% behind this event coming in."

But will the City be 100% behind Goddard, the long time and often criticized venue leader? "No, I can't make a decision saying she's a good or bad director," said Edwards.

Edwards says he'll look at all the aspects of business at the Civic Center before deciding  how to keep event sponsors and promoters from leaving Albany.

posted at 5:15PM by dave.miller@walb.com