Donations, city fund Big Chair renovation

Feb. 24, 2014 @ 03:28 PM

A collection of community partners are chipping in to help the city of Thomasville pay for two projects.
City Council on Feb. 17 approved a budget amendment to fund renovations of the Big Chair and complete a clubhouse project at Finch Field that started four years ago. More than $20,000 in donations from four area organizations will help the city fund the endeavors.
The Doak Finch Foundation donated $14,000, Thomasville Rotary Club contributed $6,000 and the Thomasville Tourism Authority and Tourism Recreation and Investment Partnership (TRIP) each gave $2,500. Refurbishing the Big Chair will cost approximately $5,000 and building a second locker room facility at Finch Field is estimated at $38,316.
“I would like to thank the Doak Finch Foundation, Thomasville Rotary Club and Tourism for their generous support in making this possible to create better facilities for the city of Thomasville and all of its citizens,” Councilman Neal Grimes said.
Council voted 5-1 to approve a budget amendment for $18,316 to cover the remaining costs of both projects. Councilman Joel Pierce cast the lone dissenting vote and questioned why two projects appeared on one budget amendment.
“They are two totally different projects,” Pierce said to City Finance Director Tony Jarrett.
Jarrett said he elected to include both projects under one amendment because the repairs to the Big Chair were under $10,000.
“The funds basically came in as one check from the Doak Finch Foundation so we just combined the two together,” said Jarrett. “I could have made the two separate, I just chose to combine it. In the general fund, something that is under $10,000 is not considered material so therefore I did not ask for a $5,000 budget amendment separately.”
Pierce expressed appreciation of the donations but questioned the need for the Finch Field project.
“I also greatly appreciate the willingness of our community partners to donate these funds to these projects,” Pierce added.  “I just don’t believe this is an expense we need at this time.”
Erected in 1951, the Big Chair last received a makeover in 2002. The city four years ago renovated the locker room for the Thomasville HiToms at Finch Field and now will do the same on the visitor’s side.
In other news:
Council approved a contract agreement with Thomasville City Schools for the addition of a new school resource officer. The officer will be responsible for Thomasville Primary and Liberty Drive elementary schools. The school system and the city are splitting matching funds on a state SRO grant.
Council also approved a code of ordinance amendment that allows the city to access a database used to check criminal backgrounds of potential employees. 

Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or