After months of negotiations, The Georgia Sports Hall of Fame could finally be locally owned.
Tomorrow, Interim Director Ben Sapp will meet with the State Properties Commission with a final proposal from the Sports Authority Board.
The proposal lays out a leasing and management plan. Two issues the State and Authority Board had gone back and forth on. If approved the proposal will go to Governor Nathan Deal for final approval on the transition of ownership.
Sapp says, "It's been a struggle with all the uncertainty here to stay focused on our mission."
It's been 17 months since the state announced it would stop funding both the Georgia Music and Sports Halls of Fame.
Halls of Fame, Inc., was the sole bidder on the Georgia Sports Museum and has been going through long lists of legalities to transfer control.
This time members say they have got it right. "We're cautiously optimistic that we've completed all the state's requirements," says Mike Ford.
NewTown Macon will assume management of museum as a part of the latest changes.
"NewTown Macon has the resources. The where-alls to operate a small business, which is what this is," says Sapp.
The museum had more than half a million dollars of debt, which stalled the transfer of power.
Ford says,"What we were doing is jumping through hoops to make it legal."
By law a government entity had to pay the debt, which left the privately operated group Halls of Fame Inc., unable to pay it. That's when the Bibb County Development Authority stepped in to pay and lease the building.
"It's a change to respond to the legal requests,"says Ford.
A deal with the Development Authority changed who will manage the museum.
If the state approves this latest proposal NewTown Macon will take control for at least a year with the authority board supervising.
Board members say it's a big step forward in ending a year and a half in limbo.
Sapp says, "We obviously think this is something worth preserving."
The details need to be finalized before private money can be fully paid out to the museum.