The Bibb County commission and Macon mayor tabled a discussion about NewTown Macon's $800,000 loan to a downtown bar.
Commissioners were scheduled to vote Tuesday on NewTown's loan, which is backed by Bibb County's credit rating. It was approved last week during a Bibb commission committee meeting.
The non-profit's president, Josh Rogers, says the owner of the bar came to him and said he decided to not close on the loan. Rogers says he does not know anymore details, but he says the owner could ask for the loan down the road so he asked the commission to table it.
Josh Rogers, NewTown's president, told commissioners last week they want to loan the money to the bar to help the owner pay off the building's mortgage. The bar then has 15 years to pay off the loan in increments to NewTown, and NewTown will use that money to pay off bond holders.
Rogers says the bar has been a big asset in downtown, so he says when the owner of the bar, Ricky Hill, came to them with a financial problem he wanted to help.
Bibb Co. approves anti-discrimination law
A person's Gender identity or sexual orientation can no longer prevent them from getting hired or promoted within a county job. In a six to three vote Bibb Commissioners approved an ordinance that will add the LGBTQ community into the county charter.
Prior to the vote, the charter only listed sex, race, religion, national origin, age, or political affiliation. Several people spoke up against the ordinance including Commissioner Mallory Jones who voted against it.
Jones says by approving this ordinance the county is heading towards more LGBTQ changes in the charter.
“I’m so convinced we're headed in that we're going to have the bathroom issue because it’s all over America. Don’t be naïve. It’s there,” says Jones.
Bentley Hudgins is one of many who were there to encourage the change. Hudgins says he was proud to see how civil the two sides were.
“It never once evolved into hateful redirect some may have regarded each other as ignorant or intolerant, but no one ever yelled at each other and everyone remained respectful of each other,” says Hudgins. He says tonight was just a first step.
Hudgins says the group is going to continue to work for more LGBTQ rights in the county.
Part of Wesleyan Drive is closing
In a five to four vote, Bibb Commissioners voted to close the portion of Riverside Drive to Forsyth Road along Wesleyan Drive.
The county is selling the land for more than $141,000 to a Georgia based company, but there are no details yet on what retail spaces will go in.
The county conducted a survey and found that there was an average of one thousand cars a day on that portion of the road.
Flintrock Park is getting renovations
Part of Lake Tobesofkee is getting more than $400,000 worth of renovations. In another five to four vote, Bibb Commissioners approved spending funds from the 2011 SPLOST on Flintrock Park.
Commissioner Joe Allen says he is planning to meet with 10 people from the area and parks and recreation to talk with them about his ideas. However, Allen says it was important to go ahead and get the funding approved.
He says he is talking to a planner to put a drawing together to present at the meeting.
The Grand Opera House is getting renovations
Commissioners approved a bond giving them more than $2 million worth of renovations.
The Executive Director of the Opera House, Gram Slaton, says some of the changes will come in 2017 and others in 2018.
Slaton says in 2017 one of the changes will be making the loading deck larger to allow room for larger set pieces.
“They'll also see more of the Broadway shows on stage actually because we'll be improving our loading dock doors so we can get these huge set pieces in and get all of the 4 trucks of these 4 truck shows we keep buying. But you can only get about 2 and a half trucks on the stage right now,” says Slaton.
Slaton says the theatre will also get new seats this year.