RiverRat 1 year, 6 months ago on Dougherty considers tax allocations

Everyone pounds on the RiverQuarium while giving Thronateeska a pass! Why is that?

Mr. Fletcher has passed along misinformation. First, according to the tease: "Four Dougherty County departments seek special tax funding for needs that they say are immediate." Both Thronateeska and the RiverQuarium are PRIVATE organizations, 501(c)(3) not for profit "educational" corporations, not "departments" of the local government. Being given millions of taxpayer dollars does not change that.

Second, regarding Thronateeska's request to "reprioritize almost $97,000 in SPLOST VI funds", Mr. Fletcher says the $97K was set aside for "restoration of a historic train car at the center." In SPLOST 6, $100K was allocated to complete restoration of the historic railroad equipment exhibit, not just one "train car"! This project was started in 1999 with SPLOST 4 providing $500K to professionally restore the steam engine and other pieces in the collection. This became Tommy Gregors' project in 2002 when he became Executive Director and almost 11 years later it still is not finished. The project was underfunded from the beginning, but Gregors, with his board's approval, shifted remaining SPLOST 4 funds to "roof repairs" in Dec. 2009 to stop any further restoration work.

Since SPLOST 6 approval 2 years ago, there has been no work done by the museum toward completion of the project, except for work on one railcar being restored at a museum in Savannah, and even it is not finished.

Gregors' main focus is the new $2M Archives Building, another SPLOST 6 project for which he recently requested and received another $100k. He got $500k in SPLOST 6 to "stabilize" the Tift Warehouse. Now, he wants to take the "easy money" specifically allocated to finishing the railroad exhibit work, and throw it into this "stabilization" project.

Saying he'd "mount a fundraising campaign to replace the funds that we're asking you to reallocate.", is just another way for him to stop the railroad restoration work permanently. In almost 11 years, how much private funding he has raised? I'm not talking about SPLOST, museum memberships, facility rentals, trust income and such. I'm talking about real, directed fundraising. I think you'll find it is a very small number.

Check the records and you'll find that when he was requesting the $500k Tift "stabilization" money, he said he wouldn't be asking the Commissioners for any additional funds. He would finish it by mounting a fundraising campaign. Good to see he's been successful there...and Gregors' lap dog board is complicit in this.

Gregors should be made to finish the original SPLOST 4 project, like it or not, but watch him carefully! He'll spend as little as possible to make things look pretty, but not last very long. Just enough to get the commissioners off his back.

With the financial straits this city/county is in, we shouldn't be giving anything out to PRIVATE corporations.


RiverRat 1 year, 8 months ago on Library genealogy center moves to Thronateeska

REALLY?? Come on, where are they housing this? Anyone been to the History Museum part of Thronateeska lately? He's moved "history" exhibits from the "history" museum into the "science" museum.

Gregors closed the history museum so archives from the office can be stored there during demolition...I mean modification. The new $2.1M archives building will wrap around the office. Gregors was able to fool the City commission into believing Thronateeska was the local archives expert, with help, no doubt, from City Clerk Sonja Tolbert, who just happened to be on the Thronateeska BOD when the whole scheme was hatched. Don't believe for a moment the pablum story version that was printed in the Herald a few months ago. In spite of what Gregors may have told the city, the museum had no staff with any experience in document archives work. The lady heading the archives department wasn't hired until after Gregors fooled the commission into a contract, and even she had no experience or certification in museum archives work. She does now, but not when hired.

And let's not forget the Chris Pike connection...Pike worked for Gregors as "curator" for a couple of years after he graduated from ASU. Com. Pike was conveniently absent for voting on the $75k archives contract awarded Thronateeska. And no one seems to know much about a $35k "gift" to Thronateeska, probably through the City Clerk's office, to buy computer equipment to be able to start providing the archives service.

All Gregors is doing now is continuing his string of post-P&G employment building projects using taxpayer funds...Chehaw's Education Center, the Okefenokee Education and Research Center, and the train shed , Science Museum and planetarium and Tift Warehouse "stabilization" at Thronateeska. Gotta wonder what he plans to do next, now that the last bit of green space at Thronateeska is going to be covered up with the new archives building.

Maybe he'll finish the SPLOST IV train restoration project. It's only been 13 years since that project was started, under a different museum director, mind you. It would be nice to see the train exhibit actually cared for, instead of weeds growing up and having junk piled all around. The area certainly isn't attractive like it was. Maybe that's part of his plan...keep it junked up so no one wants see it, and then he can justify getting rid of it. So what if $600k in taxpayer money was spent. Oh, I guess it wasn't his idea or project, so he doesn't care...there are even things at Thronateeska donated by his family that he hasn't shown any interest in preserving. It's becoming more and more obvious that Gregors cares nothing about artifacts, the things people go to museums to see.

The "Gregors Empire" at Thronateeska. I hope his rubber-stamp BOD wakes up before he totally ruins the place.

So, I'll be waiting to see the announcement on the genealogy becoming a permanent part of Thronateeska's holdings, in 9 months or so.