Last November, The Albany City Commission gave the Riverquarium $150K, to remain open and look for other funding sources.
There was much community discussion about this, and many who said,
give them nothing, and just let this beautiful and unique tourist attraction close.
Have those critics forgotten about the million dollar checks given to the Albany Civic Center or The Parks at Chehaw?
There is no such outcry or even a serious discussion, when these annual checks are written…and this has been going on for 30 years…
Right now, Chehaw gets a little over one million from the city every year.
Just in the last 5 years, taxpayers have paid $1.13 million to the Civic Center.
Consider this…we have given the Riverquarium just 9 years to be self-sufficient and making a profit.
Measuring these by the same standard, we should have closed these other two money pits a decade ago.
The managers at all our attractions, must do more to become self-sufficient,
and the amount taxpayers fund them all, should be reduced over time, to wean them off this dependency.
Why has there been no gradual reduction in the funding for the Civic Center and Chehaw?
We do not want to pit one attraction against another,
But with finite tax dollars to spend…evaluations and decisions must be made.
Let’s agree that all our major tourist attractions, including the Riverquarium and the Civil Rights Museum,
are worthy of annual taxpayer support, for a certain number of years, but in fairness…the same number of years.
If the commission has to reduce or cut taxpayers’ support,
fairness would say… start with the ones that have cost us the most money, over the largest number of years!
Written by Jim Wilcox, general manager of WALB.