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Brenau’s use of Mountains Center won’t enhance city

POSTED: November 10, 2011 1:00 a.m.

As someone who has been a Georgia Mountain Players season ticket holder for the past eight or so years, I want to add my name to the list of concerned citizens of Gainesville and the surrounding area regarding the proposed plan to lease the Georgia Mountain Center to Brenau University for use as classroom and lecture hall space.

Brenau is a first-class institution and I think highly of its value to the community. Nonetheless, I must express my concern about the city of Gainesville abrogating its responsibility concerning a facility that belongs to the community, having been built with federal funds for the use of the community, and leasing it to a private enterprise, to "rent" back to the community.

It seems to me that the reverse course should be taken, that is, to rent space to Brenau on a noninterference basis to those activities for which the facility was intended when first built, i.e., a venue for community activities such as the Georgia Mountain Players' theatrical productions, the Annual Home Exposition Shows, the Lippizaner Stallions, Eastman Knife and Gun Shows, beauty pageants, banquets, meetings and the like.

When you try to compare the value of Brenau versus the value of the GMC to the community, one needs to consider how much of the community is affected by Brenau compared to how much of the community would be affected by the loss of the GMC.

It is difficult to equate the value of Brenau with the value of the GMC as a venue for community activities, but one thing is clear; Brenau will continue to bring value to the community even if the GMC is not leased to it. But what would or could replace the value to the community provided by such diverse activities as currently enjoyed in the GMC if such a facility was no longer available?

I've only discussed the perceived value of Brenau versus the perceived value of the loss of a venue currently available at the GMC to the community. There may also be legal restrictions concerning what the city of Gainesville can do with the GMC, given the origin of funding and intent for community use.

A.R. McCahan
Gainesville



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