No decision on TEE Center contract impacts economy - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

No decision on TEE Center contract impacts economy


Wiping down windows and touching up paint on walls; the Augusta Convention Center downtown is almost complete. But there's still no management agreement between the city and a corporation vying to run the facility. And now convention organizers have lost interest.

"This was the Georgia Police Chiefs Association, so this is statewide news now, and this is a huge black eye for the city," said Mayor Deke Copenhaver.

The Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police scheduled their annual conference for January. But now convention planners are changing venues after commissioners once again postponed their decision to approve a contract with Riverfront, LLC, the corporation that owns the Marriott Hotel; disappointing news to the GAPC.

"Their inability to communicate with us and tell us what kinds of concerns there were having really put us in a precarious situation," said Frank Rotondo, executive director of the GACP. "Leaving me to be concerned about hundreds of people to come to a conference site, without a conference site."

 The Police Chief Association convention was scheduled to bring in 300 to 400 people, and their money. And now that they've pulled out, the mayor said this could turn into a domino effect.

"When conventions are looking to come here, we're not operating in a vacuum," Mayor Copenhaver said. "They realize that we don't have a management agreement in place."

Mayor Copenhaver said the city's reputation is at stake with other potential convention planners. The Augusta Convention & Visitors Bureau estimates a person spends $266 per day during their conference. But commissioners are more concerned with the dollars coming out of what some call a bad contract.

"Week after week after week we find more things that are wrong; that are inconsistent, and things that are not advantageous to this government," said commissioner Bill Lockett.

Disadvantages like the management company getting all the profits while the city foots the bill for all its losses. And with the GACP now looking for another site, that's already one loss the city will have to pay for.

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