ATLANTA -- State Sen. Robert Brown wants to keep the Georgia music and sports halls of fame in Macon, and he is proposing propping up the finances for the two museums by putting video gambling machines inside.
Specific details of his proposal will come out in a Senate bill next week, according to a statement from Browns office, but basically, he wants the museums to partner with the Georgia Lottery Corp. to put video gambling machines in little-used spaces of the 43,000-square-foot museums.
A pair of museums, livened up by gambling, should mean downtown Macon businesses will benefit from the increased people traffic to what will be a unique and fresh entertainment district, Brown, D-Macon, said in the statement.
Its too late in the legislative session for passage this year, as Brown admitted, but he pointed out that his idea will be alive for debate next January.
Both the Georgia music and sports halls of fame have been losing money since their inception. Only state and local tax money has kept them afloat, and the state dollars run out at the end of the fiscal year in June.
Meanwhile, the Georgia Music Hall of Fame may be leaving Macon anyway. The hall of fames authority has until April 15 to make a recommendation to the state regarding the museums fate.
The authority meets Thursday morning, and its board is expected to decide whether to award the museum to Macon, Athens, Woodstock or Dunwoody, or close the museum altogether.
Dahlonega, which was initially part of the bidding process, abandoned its bid when funding fell through, and Dunwoodys bid lacks support from its City Council to use money from a special purpose local option sales tax to fund the museum.
A recently named panel of 10 legislators has the power to oversee and review management of the two halls, but it has yet to hold its first meeting. However, the two halls authorities will make the final recommendations to the governors office as to the museums futures.
The Georgia Lottery Corp. did not return requests for comment Friday.
Regarding the fate of the music hall, officials from Halls of Fame Inc. -- the public-private partnership trying to keep both museums in Macon -- met Friday to make clarifications to its bid.
The music hall authority gave all four cities bidding two week to make clarifications in their proposals. Those clarifications are due by 5 p.m. Monday.
Mike Ford, a board member with Halls of Fame Inc., said Friday the board has received approval from one of the foundations offering funding to accelerate the date in which it would receive the money.
Ford said that by doing this, it increases Macons bid by about $140,000 and would allow the group to take over operation of the music hall May 1 rather than July 1, the beginning of the next fiscal year.
Also, Ford said the group would delete a line from its proposal that would require the Georgia Properties Commission to make heating, cooling and lighting improvements and repairs at the existing facility. Instead, Halls of Fame Inc. would make the improvements should its bid be the winner.
As part of its proposals for the two museums, Halls of Fame Inc. is asking the properties commission to lease the 43,000-square-foot facilities at the cost of 10,000 square feet of space.
Ford said his board thinks the changes that will be turned in Monday are clarifications, since the authoritys request for proposal doesnt allow for modifications to the original bids.
Writer Phillip Ramati contributed to this report.
To contact writer Maggie Lee, e-mail email@example.com.