Cherry Blossom Festival wants Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful out

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – UPDATE: Briefly after the meeting the meeting, Cherry Blossom Festival Chairman, Don Bailey, says KMBBC, Chairman, Adam Cochran asked for an extension. Cochran told Bailey KMBBC needed more time to vacate their office. They agreed to extend the vacating order to Friday, October 27th at 5 PM.

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The Cherry Blossom Festival is asking Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful to vacate the ‘Pink House’, also known as their headquarters.

Chairman of Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commission (KMBBC), Adam Cochran, and an executive board member, made the announcement at monthly commission meeting Thursday morning. Tension quickly filled the room once board members were told they had to vacate by Friday, October 20th at 5 P.M.

KMBBC started the Cherry Blossom Festival in March of 1982. In 2012, the Cherry Blossom Festival branched off, as a separate 501-c3. Both separate organizations, headquartered in the same house on Cherry Street.

“We’re just relaying to you what was given to us by the Cherry Blossom Festival and their attorney,” said Cochran to the KMBBC board members.

Cochran says the clean-up organization is being asked to leave due to personnel issues.

“If we don’t vacate the house, I would expect some sort of legal letter and I don’t know what that is,” Cochran told members.

Macon-Bibb’s interim county manager Julie Moore, County Attorney Judd Drake, assistant attorney Jansen Head, and Public Affairs’ Chris Floore were all in attendance at the meeting.

Moore, who is also in charge of the county’s budget brought up some concerns regarding KMMBC’s finances.

“Where are your monthly financials? We have not received them. Where is your audit?,” Moore asked KMBBC. “Have you been performing the tasks that are required here, including litter pick-up? What activities are happening? We’re supposed to receive a report on that.”

The county funds KMBBC every fiscal year. According to Floore, who represented Mayor Robert Reichert at the meeting, the county has received many calls about the lack of litter pick-ups.

“The Mayor is upset and disappointed that this has come to our table in the past 90 days,” Floore said. “It shouldn’t come to our level, it should be solved here.”

Floore continued by saying KMBBC has 90 days to come up with a “gateway plan” for clean up, or the county will pull the organization’s funds of $110,000 for this fiscal year. Floore says the county asked for a clean-up plan from the KMBBC 5 years ago.

“This is not about your personnel issues or your personal issues,” Floore said. “We need this board to come together. We want a plan and we want it approved by this board.”

Also at the meeting, were the Chairman and President of the Cherry Blossom Festival. They are normally present at KMBBC’s monthly meetings to give an update on festival activities.

“The Cherry Blossom Festival, we’re doing fantastic,” said Cherry Blossom Festival Chairman, Don Bailey. “And obviously there are issues that need to be worked out with group and we wish them the best.”

Bailey did not have any comment regarding the hostility or the vacating order.

As for plans for vacating, Cochran says KMBBC will take a break from The Pink House for 30 days to resolve issues. Cochran and Pam Carswell (President/CEO of KMBBC), did not have any comment about the vacating order. Both said they plan to move forward with doing their jobs and keeping the community clean.

At the end of the meeting, KMBBC Treasurer, Billy Oliver and Treasurer Elect, Jean Bragg, put in their resignations. That will bring the executive board down to three members.

Cochran says the entire board will meet before next month’s scheduled meeting to come up with a plan the county is requesting.

Categories: Bibb County, Local News

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