By Jason Massad

Dunwoody officials have pitched a proposal to land the Georgia Music Hall of Fame that relies on both big projections and influential names.

The pitch, submitted to the Georgia Music Hall of Fame Authority this month, states that a museum that has attracted less than 30,000 people to Macon, Ga., in 2009 can attract 125,000 visitors the first year it locates in Dunwoody.

The following year’s projections jump to 260,000 visitors, which would bring a multi-million dollar economic punch to hotels and eateries in Dunwoody and Sandy Springs.

“Using the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland (which creates an annual $107-million impact on the local economy with 500,000-plus annual visitors) as a model, it is reasonable to expect the economic impact in Dunwoody to approach $50 million in the initial year,” according to the proposal.

Backing the proposal is the newly minted Dunwoody Music Conservancy, Inc., a nonprofit that would administer the Georgia Music Hall of Fame if it located in Dunwoody. The museum now host exhibits of such greats as “Blind Willie” McTell, TLC and Jerry Reed.

The conservancy is chaired by Dunwoody City Councilman Danny Ross, who is described as a fundraiser and successful venture capitalist in the group’s proposal. Other members include William McCahan, a corporate market executive with Olympic fundraising experience;  Bill Grant a Dunwoody builder and president of the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce; and Yvonne Williams, executive director of Perimeter Center Community Improvement Districts.

Athens, Dahlonega and Woodstock and a group from Macon have all pitched bids for the museum. The location has operated with the help of a heavy state subsidy for years.

The Dunwoody group, if selected as host, plans to locate the Georgia Music Hall of Fame at Perimeter Center Mall for several years before a permanent facility can be built near The Spruill Center For the Arts, which has dedicated a property for the museum. The Spruill property is estimated to be worth $3 million, according to the proposal.

The proposal doesn’t detail a budget to build a 10,000 square-foot museum, 1,000-seat performing arts center and meeting space behind Spruill Gallery on Ashford Dunwoody Road. Instead the proposal emphasized the fundraising backgrounds of the conservancy’s members and says money would come from private sources, such as “Fortune 500 businesses, foundations with a focus on music, art and education and citizens.”

The Dunwoody proposal boasts of the community’s access to 5 million people in the Atlanta metro area and the fact that it can help fulfill the stated mission of the museum in attracting children to the museum.

The proposal promises an interactive museum filled with flat-screen televisions and smart phones, traveling exhibits to keep people coming back to the museum and satellite facilities in different parts of the state  to host Hall of Fame exhibits.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.