The Sports and Music Halls of Fame in Macon had been rumored to be closing for a few years, since the Republican takeover of the Georgia Assembly a few years ago.
Both Halls of Fame have been receiving funding from the state, but it seems to be a mode of thought among some in the Georgia Assembly that Atlanta should have these museums.
However, there has been a strong effort by officials in Macon and Central Georgia to keep the doors open to the Sports and Music Hall of Fame.
Local officials such as state Sen. Robert Brown, state Reps. Allen Peake and David Lucas, Macon Mayor Robert Reichert and Bibb County Commission Chairman Sam Hart, have made appeals to the Georgia Assembly that the Central Georgia community is committed to keeping the museums open in Macon.
One of the problems facing the two museums and local officials is that the Conventions and Visitors Bureaus across the state are fighting legislation in relation to using hotel-motel tax monies to help support the local museums in Macon. In essence, the Convention and Visitors Bureau here in Macon and across the state do not want to share revenue and have blocked efforts to increase the hotel-motel tax.
Solutions are needed to keep these landmarks thriving in Macon.
Losing the Sports and Music Halls of Fame would be a tough pill to swallow for downtown Macon and Central Georgia. The closing would definitely have a negative impact on the Tubman African American Museum, the Douglass Theatre, and the Children’s Museum.
Rep. Peake hopes to attach an amendment to fellow state representative Mark Burkhalter’s House Bill 903, which cleared the Georgia House earlier this year. Burkhalter’s bill involves using hotel-motel tax money for the metro Atlanta area, and Peake will attempt to force members to vote on this as a last effort to help the museums here in Macon get funded.
The Georgia Music Hall of Fame has worked hard to provide an educational and entertaining product to the community. One example is The Billy Watson Music Factory that serves children grades pre-K through elementary by encouraging the exploration of musical concepts like rhythm, melody and composition in a hands-on learning environment. MIKE (Music in Kid’s Education) provides a series of programs offering live music performances and music instruction opportunities throughout the year.
The Georgia Music Hall of Fame came into existence in 1976 after the General Assembly studied the impact of music in the state of Georgia and specifically the economic impact. On Sept. 22, 1996, the Georgia Music Hall of Fame opened as a 43,000 square-foot facility housing a main exhibit hall, a retail store, the Zell Miller Center for Georgia Music Studies, an administrative wing, a classroom and a reception room. In 1999, the second phase of the museum, The Billy Watson Music Factory, an interactive and interpretive exhibit space for pre-K through elementary students, opened.
The Georgia Sports Hall of Fame is the country’s largest state sports museum at 43,000 square feet. Created in 1956 as the Georgia Prep Sports Hall of Fame, the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame has been in existence for more than 50 years. It was expanded in 1963 to encompass prep, college, amateur and professional sports. In 1999, it moved into a permanent new home in Macon.