Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Money Woes at Florida Hall

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Money Woes at Florida Hall

Article excerpt

The cash-strapped Florida Sports Hall of Fame and Museum of Florida Sports History has been forced to indefinitely postpone its 29th annual induction ceremony, scheduled for April 30 at the Lake City facility, due to the lack of adequate funding.

Hall of Fame Foundation President Roger Strickland informed the board of directors late last week of his decision, after a lengthy search to secure either corporate or private sector funding for the Hall's marquee event proved unsuccessful.

"There are a couple of things working out there," Strickland said. "The ghost hasn't been given up yet. I'm confident we can get that done."

The cancellation could well be the precursor to the closing of the 10,000 square foot facility, which opened its doors on Dec. 1, 1990, and features specially designed exhibits for each of its 177 enshrinees.

"If we don't have anybody to take care of us, I'm going to ask to close the doors," Strickland said. "We can't keep coming out of board meetings hoping some angel is going to fall out of heaven and take care of us."

The Hall of Fame Foundation's Board of Directors are tentatively scheduled to meet on April 30, at which time they will review the financial feasability of keeping the doors open. Facing debts in excess of $60,000, without any sign of immediate financial relief in sight, the board might be forced to shut down the operation.

"We're getting CPR," Strickland said. "I just keep waking up every day, hoping it takes."

As it is, Hall of Fame Executive Director Sandy Dillard has been working for more than a year without taking a salary. A limited staff and a lack of funds forced the Hall to limit its operating hours in August of last year from Thursday through Monday. The number of visitors to the facility has tailed off dramatically since 78,000 tripped the turnstile in 1993. …

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