Perry City Council discusses options for Perry Arts Center

efarlow@macon.comJune 17, 2013 

PERRY -- At a work session of the Perry City Council on Monday, council members decided to think about the options for the Perry Arts Center and vote on an option at a later date.

City Manager Lee Gilmour said the two options for the center are to operate the facility as an arts center or as an event center.

Right now, the arts center is used for a variety of purposes. “What’s happening with it right now is it’s kind of gone back and forth but has not been able to focus on any one particular avenue,” Gilmour said. Any group can rent the space for any activity, even birthday parties.

Gilmour said it was important for council to determine the specific role of the facility so it can focus on improvements to the building and programs or events to take place in the center.

If the primary role of the center is to be an arts facility, then there would be restrictions as to what kind of exhibits and events can take place in the facility. An event center would not exclude art exhibits, however it would allow for a variety of events to take place in the facility.

Council members were concerned that an event center would compete with private sector event centers.

Council agreed on the proposed budget for the Perry Music Festival. The proposed $14,000 would come from the Hotel/Motel Tax Special Revenue Fund, which is where money has come from in the past. Last year, the city spent a little more than $18,000 on the festival.

City Council also agreed on a contract between the city and contractors to provide money for home repairs for low income families. The agreement states that the city will pay up to $1,700 per site for repairs as long as the house is located within the city limits, is owner occupied and the home owners have a combined income lower than federal poverty standards. The total cost for repairs must not exceed $1,700.

Gilmour said no contractors have made bids yet, but whoever agrees to repair the homes must identify eligible owners, provide the necessary labor and materials, complete the repairs in a safe and legal manner, and provide documentation to the city.

The Main Street Affiliate Advisor Board requested that a member of council represent the city in an ex-officio capacity to the board.

The goal of having a city advisor to the board is to ensure communication between the board and the city.

Councilman Randall Walker volunteered for the position, which council accepted.

The Main Street Affiliate Advisor Board focuses on the redevelopment and revitalization of downtown, said Economic Development Director Mary Beth Bass. “We’re using (the advisor board) to bring together lots of organizations under one umbrella,” said Bass. The board focuses on economic restructuring, design, promotion and special events for downtown Perry.

Council members postponed a vote to establish load restrictions on city streets. The proposal stated that vehicles weighing in excess of 70,000 pounds or measuring 80 or more feet in length would be restricted from driving on city streets.

Council also decided to participate in the Peach County Energy Excise tax for the portion of Perry that lies within Peach County.

To contact writer Emily Farlow, call 744-4225.

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