Editorial: Albany Civic Center underutilized

Editorial: Albany Civic Center underutilized

Recently Albany city leaders announced that there was a $1.2 million shortfall in the budget for the Civic Center. So, do Albany taxpayers need to keep subsidizing this facility?

Last year, the facility made $380,000 in revenues, coming nowhere near the money it takes to run it.

I'm sure it would surprise most, to know there were 116 events held at the civic center last year.

We all hear the same thing in the community, how can Wild Adventures and even the Sasser Flea Market book better concerts that the Albany Civic Center?

According to city leaders, what we spend is money well spent.

Still, taxpayers will pay $230,000 for fiscal year 2016 to meet the Civic Center budget.

Another $1 million in our hotel-motel tax money will be used to subsidize the venue.

Mayor Dorothy Hubbard says civic centers in other cities aren't used as sources of revenues.

"They are designed as a quality of life issue. And so when you have quality of life issues, they aren't going to break even. That means we have to pay a little bit to help them to sustain themselves," said Mayor Hubbard.

Currently, the space is used for conferences, graduations, concerts and special events. The arena football team the "Georgia Firebirds" played at the civic center this year and promise to be back next year.

This year, there were performances by Babyface and the Harlem Globetrotters. The Babyface concert created a $10,000 profit.

City leaders must try and attract more concerts and special events. A qualified Civic Center manager should be able to catch personalities and attractions on open dates on the way to appear in Florida, or traveling back north after concert dates.

But it isn't enough to just attract those events.  The people of South Georgia need to step up and be willing to pay to attend the performances and ease their own burden as taxpayers.

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