Hall to go private, give up property

The Georgia Golf Hall of Fame notified legislators Wednesday of its intentions to dissolve the state organization and relinquish control of its 17 acres in Augusta.

"The board felt that privatizing was the best road to long-term success," Chairman Bryan Persons, of Macon, said in a statement.

The announcement came a day after two Augusta legislators -- Sen. Ed Tarver and State Rep. Hardie Davis -- said they would schedule a Feb. 10 meeting to discuss eliminating the organization and transferring ownership of its real estate to the city.

The group's petition to the Legislature asks that the hall and its governing board -- both established in 1986 -- be dissolved effective June 30, the end of its fiscal year.

Though Mr. Persons' request indicates the organization would be re-established as a private, nonprofit group with similar goals, hall spokeswoman Robyn Jarrett said it is too early to offer specifics, including where its headquarters would be.

"Frankly, what we're asking for at this point is the first step to allow us to become a private entity," she said. "It is very early in the process."

The group intends to relinquish control of its 17-acre site on Reynolds Street in Augusta. The area, once a botanical garden, has been discussed as a possible location for a baseball complex.

Mr. Persons noted that the Legislature had directed the hall last year to make efforts to become self-sufficient.

"Therefore, dissolution of these governing bodies is the first step of the process in reorganizing as a private entity," he said.

Ms. Jarrett was unsure what would become of the hall's statues of famous golfers and other artifacts.

Reach Rob Pavey at 868-1222, ext. 119, or rob.pavey@augustachronicle.com.