Committee advises not to increase tourism grants: Council will decide how to spend excess money from taxes
by Rachel Miller
June 09, 2013 11:46 PM | 1635 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The Parks, Recreation and Tourism committee has advised the City Council to give almost $273,000 in tourism grants for 2014, which is the same amount that was allotted in 2013.

Ten organizations that received funds from the city last year asked for more than $450,000 in proposals given to the council last month.

At a meeting Thursday, Councilman Johnny Sinclair said there was quick agreement not to increase the amount awarded from 2013.

He said any excess should be added to remaining funds from last year for special projects to be determined by the full council at a later date.

“At some point, the City Council will have a big chunk of money to do something with,” Sinclair said. He said the reserve fund might go to an event to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

The numbers

For the first time, the Parks, Recreation and Tourism committee, chaired by Sinclair, reviewed the requests to determine if an organization promotes tourism in order to be granted money collected by the city through hotel/motel and auto rental taxes.

The Georgia Ballet requested $40,000 for next year, but like last year, the group will receive $3,000.

The Earl Smith Strand Theatre asked to almost double the grant amount from last year’s $33,500 to $60,000, which might be due to the loss of the Atlanta Lyric Theatre as its biggest tenant. The theater stated in the proposal that 84,116 people attended shows last season. The council committee recommended keeping the amount awarded to the Strand at $33,500.

The Marietta Museum of History will again be awarded $128,579, which accounts for 45 percent of the museum’s overall budget.

Like last year, the Welcome Center is being recommended to receive $197,500 to fund 75 percent of the organization’s budget.

Councilman Philip Goldstein serves as the appointed Council representative on the Welcome Center’s board.

Increased tourism

Goldstein joined the three members of the Parks, Recreation and Tourism committee at Thursday’s meeting, but will most likely abstain from voting Wednesday because he owns the Strand Theatre property on North Park Square.

Goldstein said he does support awarding tax money to encourage tourism and thinks the grants have helped. He said people from all over the United States and around the world visit Marietta’s museums. “Each group has something special to offer,” Goldstein said.

Goldstein has been a member of Friends of Brumby Hall Inc. and the Cobb Landmarks and Historical Society. Goldstein said as a business owner, resident and elected official “you want your community to do well.”

 

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