No Cracks in the Ice Rink Proposal for the Classic Center

The Classic Center is getting its full $5.4 million requested bond funding for an ice rink and other improvements.

The mayor and commission vote on the second Tuesday of the month.
The mayor and commission vote on the second Tuesday of the month.
Jeff Scarborough is humbled and excited to be the new fire chief. He's looking forward to a bright future. He comes from Sandy Springs, where he helped create a fire department for a new city, and he also worked in Clayton County. He's wearing a tie.

Opps! they approved the August minutes, not the September minutes. So Nancy has asked them to do it again. And yes, they approved the minutes from September.

Now the public has a chance to comment on the consent agenda. After two seconds, Nancy moves on, Harry moves to approve and it's done.

Here comes Paul Cramer, director of the Classic Center. He lives on Graystone Terrace. He thanks people for looking at their project. He says he has researched all the systems of the new building. He has studied the systems and characteristics of the building and it passes muster. He says any vendor coming into the building will have to comply with engineering specifications. The Classic Center has a track record of attracting major figures. All they need to do is to book two major shows. They are in talk with Cirque on Ice and Broadway on Ice to complete their pro forma. Thanks them for helping to fulfill the mission of the Classic Center. 

Bill Douglas from Riverbottom Circle is at the podium. He's the chair of the Classic Center Authority. He has confidence in Paul and his proposal. He's excited about the new projects for the community. They will have the needed reports and studies regarding the structural integrity of the facility. Board things the economic opportunities are tremendous. Will add to the diversity of the Classic Center activities. Selected a bank credit facility. Speaks for the board and reaffirms his support of the project.

Jared Bailey recuses himself from the vote. And so does Jerry. It passes, and the Commission approves giving money to downtown events via the ADDA.

Jerry now criticizes the plan put forth by Paul Cramer. He says the business plan isn't transparent. We see assumptions but no numbers. The Grand Hall is a multipurpose exhibit hall. But it's not suitable for ice. There's no mention of a raised floor. The plan isn't transparent. Can weigh the assumption and risks. it's based on invalid assumptions--Ice Capades have been out of business for years. The Classic Center, with ice, is too small to attract the big shows, especially since Athens is so close to Atlanta.

Andy Herod now wants Paul Cramer to answer or address the issue the commissioner raises. The floor is a slab on grade, it's not a raised floor. The floor is a slab on grade. The walls are solid concrete. The concrete floor will weigh a whole lot more than ice. The vendor is with Ice America who said he hadn't talked with Jerry NeSmith. He had the vendor come to the Classic Center and the engineers are certain the floor can support the ice rink. They can bring a myriad of shows into the venue. Of course, some shows want to play major markets, Paul Cramer says. If given enough money, you can get those groups. I think there's more to the story than what Jerry is alluding to. Very confident of bringing the shows that can fulfill the pro forma they have submitted.

Andy Herod Googled ice rink floors. I have confidence this can be done properly, Herod says.

Allison Wright wants to speak. To deny the intergovernment agreement; to reject funding $5.4 million....doesn't want funding for the ice rink or related equipment. She wants only $4.2 million. She wants an intergovernmental agreement with the new figures. Leaves in funding for arena seating, which will bring in a lot of different programs. She thinks the ice rink should be funded by the ice hockey club to reduce the debt.

Jared Bailey: the history of ice events in the South hasn't been very successful. Macon had a hockey team from 1992 to 1996. It failed miserably and lost millions of dollars. I'd like us to consider it may not be a good financial risk for the community to take. Ice hockey isn't a very big or profitable sport in the South. Mike Hamby says Macon isn't comparable to Athens. He grew up going to see the Atlanta Flames team. We aren't experts on ice hockey or on managing the Classic Center, but we have hired people who can do this. The Classic Center brings in tons of business downtown. Making the Classic Center more versatile will be a good thing for this community.

Kathy Hoard said the minutes show they have approved the ice rink. The only thing they are discussing is the funding. The last meeting was the concept, says Allan Reddish. Kathy says she has gotten more information on this project than on any other. She's ready to move forward. She wants to call the question.

The funding proposal passes, 3 to 7, with Wright, Bailey and NeSmith dissenting. Nancy misunderstood what it means to call the question. Same vote on the intergovernmental agreement. They will execute the related documents.

Kimberle Powers wants to set up a personal care home, but there's no indication she has a state permit, says David Ellison. The personal care home would be at 260 Kennedy Circle. There's no company that exists to manage the facility. The presence of an unlicensed facility Could only add to the problems of the neighborhood.

Kimberle Powers now is at the podium. It seems there is a lot of confusion. Princess Davenport. She doesn't want a personal care home in her neighborhood. Who's going to be there with the people? What age are the people going to be? Who's going to be there, giving them medication? Is it going to affect my taxes? My taxes are high enough. Another Kennedy Circle resident who opposes the facility. Have had confrontations but not conversations. The information about the facility has been changing. They have safety concerns. If we keep having things piled up on us, I don't know. 

Ronnie Craig in Martin Circle. Been there since he was 19. The neighborhood is deteriorating. Do we need a business in the community? People are buying houses and renting them out. I don't want to deal with people dumping on us anymore. 

John Smith on Luther Lane. Guys don't have jobs. People are moving out and renting houses. Doesn't want these people in his neighborhood.

Ruby Jackson on Washington Drive. We don't need a place like that coming into the neighborhood. I can look out of my door. And there are some dangerous things going on over there. Annie Hill's been on Martin Circle for 40 years. Her mother is 90 and she has people who sit with her. Not such a good location for older people. She wonders how many people will be there. There needs to be a better location for the older people. Another resident worries about who would take care of the people in the house, she needs professional people, and there are three bedrooms and Kimberle's disabled brother lives there now.

Harry Sims says he's gotten a petition from the Spring Valley Neighborhood Association approving the personal care home. And yet, all these people spoke against the personal care home. They want to hold the special use permit for at least 30 days. The land is at 260 Kennedy Circle.

The proposal is going to be held for 30 days. The Commissioners say there needs to be a meeting between the opponents and the supporters of the personal care home, and that it needs to happen before the November voting meeting.


Lindsey Gorney Townsend October 10, 2013 at 12:03 AM
You have GOT to be kidding me. You call this journalism? I have been a reporter for 20 years and have NEVER seen such a sloppy article. It really looks like someone accidentally posted their rambling notes from the city council meeting....the notes you take BEFORE you do the work and write the article. If you can't hire real writers, at least don't publish crap like this!
Shaye October 11, 2013 at 10:46 AM
It was a live blog. Sounds like you're not familiar with this format. Object is to cover the meeting as it unfolds live.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »