Saturday, November 22, 2014

News
More Questions Than Answers For Ga-Ana Theatre
By Amanda Wade


There are more questions than answers for a troubled theatre in Georgiana.

It was shut down earlier this month due to health problems in the owner's family, and an emergency city council meeting Thursday night ended with very little progress being made towards its fate.

The meeting was originally called to decide whether the city will buy the Ga-Ana Theatre from its owners or leave it closed for the second time in its 75 year history, but no decision was made after city officials ran into a few road blocks.

Georgiana mayor, Jerome Antone, says, "At this particular time, we cannot purchase the property until we follow these guidelines that is outlined by the city attorney."

The guidelines Georgiana Mayor Jerome Antone says are holding up the process are things like getting an appraisal of the theatre, setting out why purchasing the property is in the best interest of the city, and having an environmental audit to make sure the property's soil is not contaminated.

But those are not the only concerns some city council members are voicing, "my concerns are that the city may not be able to address completely everything that's going on. You know, the maintenance and running it. We're not like Greenville, we don't have a full time someone that's in charge of the arts," says council member, Lisa Lowe.

Other council members, like Jackie Gandy, say even with the uncertainty, they believe the city should move forward with owning the building, "Well I'd like to see the city purchase it, but if not, as long as somebody running the building it will be fine with me. I'd hate to see it just go down and be nothing."

Council member, Byron Ward, adds, "The theatre is an economical impact, it does bring people in from other areas into the city, so that's a good thing. We want to keep that going, but if there's someone out there who's maybe able to run it a little bit better than the city I think we're all open for that."

The mayor says he is still interested in the property, but the process of following those guidelines outlined by the city attorney could take several months.