ADICA looking for new skate park tenant

ALBANY -- The Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority will begin looking for a new tenant to run a skate park off Oglethorpe Boulevard after the previous tenant had to vacate the remainder of the lease to pursue another opportunity.

The current lease isn't scheduled to expire until 2012, but the tenant, the Rev. Thomas Hale, who has run the park as a community-service ministry, notified interim ADICA Director James Taylor this week that he would have to vacate the remainder of the lease to pursue other career opportunities.

"That's something we'll be bringing before the board at the next meeting," Taylor said. "It looks as though we will have to find someone to rent and operate that property downtown."

ADICA originally leased the property to Kevin Jones in March of 2006 in an agreement that expired last March, with an option to renew until 2012. ADICA voted unanimously in February of 2007 to transfer the lease to Hale, who approached ADICA last year for an extension, ADICA Attorney Nathan Davis said.

Although the board did vote to grant Hale a lease until 2012 for $1 per year as a community-service gesture, no written contract outlining the matter has been found, Davis said.

"We haven't found that there was ever a written extension of the lease executed," he said.

Davis said the lack of paperwork, which appeared to be endemic under former ADICA director and CEO Don Buie, who remains at the Dougherty County Jail after pleading guilty to fraud, was discovered after Hale called Taylor this week.

Hale earned acclaim in 2006 for developing a program called "Success Albany," which was billed as a way to build leadership in Albany while

promoting teamwork and unity.