Two weeks after other cities competing to serve as host for the Georgia Music Hall of Fame released their bid proposals, details of Macon’s bid were finally released Sunday.
The state, which wants to eliminate funding the museum, has been seeking new host cities for it and the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame to take over their operations. Proposals from Athens, Dahlonega, Dunwoody and Woodstock were released to the public Dec. 17 after they were turned into the music hall’s authority board.
But Halls of Fame Inc., a nonprofit, public-private partnership that is working to keep both museums in Macon, was successful in getting an injunction that kept its proposal under wraps until after Dec. 31, the deadline for sports hall bids.
Halls of Fame Inc. ended up being the lone entity to submit a proposal for the sports hall. Athens, the only other city eligible to submit a proposal, didn’t do so by the Dec. 31 deadline. The Telegraph submitted an open records request to the sports hall Friday to look at Macon’s proposal. Museum officials have three business days to respond to the request.
Macon’s 36-page proposal for the music hall of fame argues that with it already located here, there wouldn’t be any new costs in either constructing a new facility somewhere else or moving the museum’s collection.
The Macon plan indicates a five-year transition to self-sufficiency, requiring $1.45 million in community support, the proposal said.
While bids for both museums were supposed to be separate, because each museum’s authority board will review only the proposals for its museum, Halls of Fame Inc. wrote that it will “create the framework to enable the Halls to work closely together to share personnel, contracted services and marketing strategies in order for both Halls of Fame to operate as efficiently as possible.”
The bid outlines various funding sources that will help keep the music hall operational until it becomes self-sustaining. Macon and Bibb County have each pledged $500,000 over the next three years to support the hall, while the Peyton Anderson Foundation will contribute $750,000 during the same span if the museum stays in Macon. The Community Foundation of Central Georgia will award a grant of $15,000 for next year as well.
The music hall also is slated to receive one-third of the revenue of an extra penny added to the local hotel/motel sales tax. Halls of Fame Inc. officials are projecting that amount to be about $90,000 in fiscal 2011, based on their financial projections submitted in the bid.
BB&T will lend Halls of Fame Inc. $200,000 to cover operating expenses, the proposal said.
In its pro forma financial plan submitted to the state, Macon anticipates increasing attendance by 20 percent in Year 1 and increasing memberships by 100 percent. It anticipates turning a profit each year, beginning fiscal year 2011, through 2017. This despite the fact the museum is projected to lose nearly $62,000 for this fiscal year, which includes a state appropriation of $355,311.
The museum currently averages about 25,000 visitors per year.
Many of the items outlined in the proposal mirror the five-year strategic plan museum officials developed for the state in 2007, such as the creation of an endowment fund, adding educational programs and increasing marketing.
The bid outlined several other reasons why Macon should be the choice to keep the museum, including its central location in the state, its musical heritage and a variety of other attractions and festivals in Middle Georgia.
According to the proposal, Halls of Fame Inc. will target young adults, families, K-12 students, group tours, business and leisure travelers, international visitors and state and local citizens in its marketing. It will use a variety of media, including billboards, TV, radio and print advertising, across the state.
It also will try to raise money for an annual fund for unrestricted gifts; public and private grants; corporate sponsorships; major gifts, including naming opportunities in the museum; and an endowment program.
A key element to raising money will be using the museum’s inductees to assist in fundraising efforts, the proposal said. It also listed potential promotional activities such as a music fantasy camp for children across the state; karaoke sessions that can be recorded to CDs/DVDs; local and regional “Be A Star” talent contests; and VIP experiential opportunities, such as dinner or performance with an inductee for key members and donors.
If Macon is successful for the bid, it would be responsible for paying rent on the existing facility, which applies only to Macon. Within its proposal, Halls of Fame Inc. noted it will pay $10.19 per square foot for 10,000 square feet -- an annual cost of $101,900. However, the museum is about 43,000 square feet in size, which could mean it would cost Macon about $438,000 per year in rent.
A response sent by the state indicates the rent would be applied to the entire facility: “It is anticipated that any Proposer seeking to use the existing current Georgia Music Hall of Fame facility will assume the cost for maintaining the entire facility.
Proposers have the sole discretion to present a concept and financial plan for use of the current facility or portion thereof in their proposal.”
The Macon proposal contains a letter from Mike Ford, president and CEO of NewTown Macon, which addresses this point. He wrote that NewTown will “guarantee those rental payments in the amount of $150,000 over the five-year projection” should the State Properties Commission elect not to reduce the rental costs for Macon.
Halls of Fame Inc. also is anticipating renting the facility out to generate income. The building doesn’t contain kitchen facilities, and the proposal doesn’t indicate adding them.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.