Georgia Shed Going Private?

Cobb County Commissioners in Georgia are discussing privatizing the Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre in Mableton because the venue has yet to turn a profit since opening in 2003.

The 2,400-capacity facility, which cost about $7.1 million to build, has reportedly struggled to make its signature concert series work. The venue originally booked 15 concerts a year but is now said to be down to five concerts this year, according to the
Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The county has reportedly contributed $2.2 million to help cover the shed’s expenses since 2007. The current fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, showed shed revenue at $363,854 and expenses at $717,869, the paper said.

“We knew it was going to take several years to break even,” Commissioner Woody Thompson told the Journal-Constitution. “It didn’t break even in the first year or the fifth year. It’s designed to be an enterprise fund where it pays for itself and I think it’s getting close to that.”

Thompson added that the facility showed less of a loss this year with county staff operating it than in previous years.

However, Lance Lemberton, president of the Cobb Taxpayers League, disagrees, saying the venue could do better as a non-profit or private sector business, the paper said.

This year the amphitheatre hosted Tracy Lawrence, Starship Starring Mickey Thomas, Hippiefest, John Michael Montgomery and Jessy J.