Originally created 09/19/06

Officials plan to make case for more money from state



The Georgia Golf Hall of Fame will push state legislators next year for more money to help avoid dire financial straits on the horizon, officials said.

As Hall of Fame officials feared earlier this year, the organization's operating deficit ended up being $400,000 for fiscal year 2005-06, said Dianne King, the executive director.

"If there are no operating funds, what happens to the Golf Hall of Fame and gardens is it can't operate," Ms. King said.

This fiscal year, the hall receives $58,685 in state funding - about $680,000 less than the Sports Hall of Fame and $755,000 less than the Music Hall of Fame.

The bulk of the $400,000 deficit stemmed from maintaining the 8.5 acres of botanical gardens, Ms. King said.

"All of our revenue is going back into that garden," she said.

Sid Mullis, the chairman of the Garden Advisory Board assembled in part to manage the cost of the gardens, said the board has taken steps toward efficiency. For example, it ended its contract with an outside landscaper and hired three full-time landscapers.

No matter how much costs are cut, he said, caring for the botanical gardens will be an expensive job, and it isn't just making them look pretty.

Mr. Mullis said there is an educational component to any botanical gardens, including informing visitors about plants and providing research opportunities for horticulture scholars.

Part of the hall's case to legislators will be made on the local business relationships developed in the past year, the gardens' educational opportunities and the special events the hall has begun conducting, Ms. King said.

Border Bash was the first large-scale event at the Hall of Fame site, Ms. King said. On Friday, it will be the location for the Rockin' Rib and Music Festival.

The organization also is exploring a partnership with Augusta State University to bring horticulture and botany studies to the gardens. Another avenue for funding will be grant applications, said Robyn Jarrett, the Hall of Fame's marketing director.

Reach Justin Boron at (706) 823-3215 or justin.boron@augustachronicle.com.

DONATION UPDATE


The Georgia Golf Hall of Fame is still calling for volunteers and donation to help its operation. It has asked for donations of time, money and memorabilia. In particular, it is seeking gifts and prizes for the silent auction during its 2007 Induction Ceremony Weekend. Donors should contact Kia Faulk at (706) 724-4443 or (888) 874-4443.


WHAT'S NEXT:

Georgia Golf Hall of Fame officials plan to ask state legislators to increase their funding to avoid $400,000 operating deficits such as the one it had in fiscal year 2005-06.