Sports Hall of Fame to Stay in Macon

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The Georgia Sports Hall of Fame will remain in Macon for at least the next three years.

Ben Sapp, the managing director who has been the museum’s temporary director for nearly two years, said Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has signed off on the agreement, which was received Feb. 6 by the Development Authority of Bibb County.

In negotiations on Feb. 7, Bibb County commissioners accepted what they seemingly thought to be the state of Georgia’s responsibility.  They informally voted to put $125,000 into the sports hall this year alone.

 County commissioner Lonzy Edwards made it known that he felt that the sports hall was the state’s responsibility, with local legislators more worried about keeping the local government under control rather than finding money to pay for what they felt was the state’s responsibilities in Macon.

“I’m going to vote for this. Only reason I’m going to vote for this is it’s in downtown Macon. Downtown Macon is in part of my district. … We’re supposed to do what’s in the best interests of the total community,” Edwards said.

Commission Chairman Sam Hart said the County Commission had obligated itself in December 2010 when it pledged to support the sports and music halls with $250,000 in the first year, $150,000 in the second year and $100,000 the third year in order to make sure that they were up and running. The Music Hall of Fame later closed its doors but the Sports Hall of Fame did not. Hart said at the moment that the Music Hall of Fame closed the obligation was then cut in half because the number of museums had been cut in half.

If Macon and Bibb County follow the ideas set forth, each will put $125,000 into the sports hall this year, $75,000 next year and $50,000 the year after that. The sports hall also receives about $120,000 in hotel-motel taxes channeled through Bibb County.

The hall is to be managed by NewTown Macon. Other funding comes from the Peyton Anderson Foundation, which promised $750,000 over three years; the Community Foundation of Central Georgia, which pledged $15,000; and the Griffith Family Foundation, which offered $200,000.

Sapp said the sports hall benefits from private fundraising that will make the hall more self-sufficient.

The Georgia Sports Hall of Fame Honors Court recently selected the newest inductees after intense deliberation. The inductees are Jack Bauerle, Sally Smalley Bell, Bob Boylston, Tracy Ham, Cliff Kimsey and John Smoltz.

The ceremony will take place on Saturday, February 25th at the Macon City Auditorium.
The Georgia Sports Hall of Fame is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9-5. The museum is located at 301 Cherry Street.