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Macon, Bibb Launch Halls of Fame Drive | News

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Macon, Bibb Launch Halls of Fame Drive


Macon and Bibb County officials are incorporating a new group to fight to keep the Georgia Sports and Music halls of fame in town.


One of the organizers for the group will be a familiar face: longtime radio and TV talk show host Kenny Burgamy.

James Dyer will be chairman of the new Halls of Fame Inc., introduced in a news conference Thursday morning.

"The state made the decision to put these halls here 10 years ago, or over a decade ago for good reason," said Dyer, noting the central location of Macon in Georgia, as well as a rich sports and music history here.

The Macon-Bibb Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce, Newtown Macon and City of Macon and Bibb County officials like Bibb County Commission Chairman Sam Hart and Macon City Council President Miriam Paris.  Both spoke at the news conference saying they support efforts to save the halls of fame.

They say they'll push for local support for the Macon halls at upcoming public events, like First Friday, and try to get 35,000 to 40,000 people to sign a petition supporting the Macon sites. They also plan to distribute "Save the Halls" bumper sticker to remind people of the issue.

The two downtown museums are owned by the state and lose money each year. Some state legislators say the two halls could be self-supporting if they were moved to the Atlanta area.

A new law signed by Gov. Sonny Perdue this spring permits all cities and counties in Georgia to submit proposals for taking the two halls from Macon and to explain how they could make the halls self-supporting.

It also requires Macon officials to submit a similar proposal if officials want to keep them in town.

In an effort spearheaded by Republican State Senator Cecil Staton, the Bibb legislative delegation got the General Assembly to approve and additional one-cent tax on hotel-motel rooms.

The delegation earmarked the additional penny to the music and sports halls of fame and the Douglass Theatre. It's expected to raise about $400,000 a year.

"We have a very real possibility of losing these museums," said Dyer. "They actually add a lot of value. The last thing I think anybody wants is two 43,000 square foot buildings sitting empty in the heart of our city. That does nobody any good, so for those who say we should just let them go, I just think that they need more information to help them understand why we need to keep these museums."

The new law says the cities and counties must submit their responses to the authority by Dec. 10.






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