Founded in 1983 by Bill Beck to honor athletes from his hometown, the Hall of Fame is now facing its 25th anniversary celebration in 2008.
“This has been a 25-year thing. It’s absolutely amazing,” said board member Sonny Foster. “It’s the history of the athletes that have come from this community and town. I guess they have stuff all the way back to the ’30s in there. It’s a tribute to them.”
Though the Hall of Fame enjoys the support of local sporting enthusiasts, the venue is facing an uncertain future, due to financial stresses.
Board members say the Hall of Fame requires approximately $6,000 annually to maintain utilities, insurance, taxes and upkeep on the property.
Three board members in 2007 obtained a $4,000 signature loan from United Bank to help maintain operations. A car show hosted by the organization raised $1,300, but the loan balance remains unpaid.
The future of the Hall of Fame, Foster said, is now dependent upon the success of an upcoming golf tournament, which officials hope will generate not only the funds necessary for the venue’s continued operation, but interest in the facility itself.
“We’re just hoping if we have a good golf tournament and get some interest in it, we can keep things going with the Hall of Fame,” Foster said. “The history of it, it’s just unreal. People don’t realize how many athletes have come through this town. The only real way to know is to go down there and look at it.”
Another supporter of the history-packed facility is Bonnie Pfrogner, of the Griffin-Spalding Chamber of Commerce.
“I’ve known Bill for many years. He’s always had a love and appreciation of athletics. I think what he’s done to recognize local athletes in this community is outstanding. In the past few years, there are a number of others who have joined rank with Bill, who are working hard to make it even better,” Pfrogner said. “I don’t know if there are too many communities that have something like this, that honors the achievements of local athletes. It’s been a real asset to the community. The chamber is proud to have the Hall of Fame as a member and we enjoy being able to promote it, so others can learn of our local athletes.”
The golf tournament is scheduled for April 5 at the Griffin Country Club. The 2008 induction ceremony, to be held at The Event Center, recognizing the achievements of 21 individuals, will conclude the day’s activities.
For more information on the golf tournament or induction ceremony call Donald Goodman at 770-228-4425.