The Fred faces renovation to box office; library board to disband

Thursday night the Peachtree City Council will consider two different options for renovating the amphitheater box office and, perhaps, an adjoining “annex” room to make way for the box office to host the city’s new visitor’s center.

The renovation is necessary due to the amphitheater and tourism association combining staff, as all such employees will be able to handle both functions.

The two options include a simple renovation of the box office or a renovation that includes the adjacent annex room. Renovating the annex room would permanently displace a bridge group that plays there four times a week and also other programs including a senior exercise group that meets four mornings a week, a yoga exercise class and Music Alive. It also would miss out on other rentals of the space.

However, if the annex room were to be renovated for the visitor’s center, it would allow the city to get more revenue from the city’s tourism association in terms of a monthly lease on the space.

The visitor’s center formerly operated in a building at the city’s tennis center complex but the room was recently turned over to Canongate, the corporation that is managing the tennis center via a contract with the city.

The matter was heard at the June 3 council meeting and postponed so city staff could look at other alternative space that can be used for the groups currently using the annex room.

The annex room is currently being used as space for programming to allow the Gathering Place senior citizen’s center to be used more often for revenue-producing rentals for receptions, parties and the like, city staff have said.

Last year the Gathering Place earned $8,133 from rental revenue, according to the recreation department. In contrast, a conservative estimate of fees paid by bridge players to a national group per game adds up to about $2,800 a month, according to Tourism and Amphitheater Director Nancy Price.

If a deal can be worked out for The Gathering Place to get some of that revenue the bridge groups could easily account for more revenue than is currently received for special events at The Gathering Place, Price suggested.

If the annex room at the amphitheater box office is renovated for the visitor’s center, it would cost between $20,000 and $30,000 to add a reception counter, seating area, office, children’s play area and a display area.

In other business Thursday, council will consider doing away with the city’s library commission and assign its primary function to the city’s recreation commission.

Library Director Jill Prouty recently said there has not been much for the library commission to do recently since the library expansion has been finished. But because the commission has been valuable for allowing members of the public to enter comments about the library and its operations, there is a benefit in assigning that duty to the city’s recreation commission perhaps, she suggested.

The proposal calls for one of the recreation commission members to be tabbed as a liaison with the library to bring up those matters at recreation commission meetings.

The commission’s operations for some time have overlapped with those of the long-standing and incorporated “Friends of the Library” volunteer program.

The Peachtree City Library is the only Fayette County public library open on Sundays and it is in the top 20 “busiest” libraries in the entire state.

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