We are not certain the city needs to be in the entertainment or entertainment venue business.
But if it is going to maintain a venue for local events, the Performing Arts Center at the old Valdosta High School seems to make the most sense.
Restoring Mathis Auditorium would just be too costly and the space has just worn out its usefulness.
PAC is a great facility.
It will be plug-and-play in the sense that it needs no costly renovation, remodeling or updating.
It is conveniently located.
The community is already used to going there for quality events.
There is more than adequate parking.
It makes good use of a facility that is already a public building.
While expensive, it is much less expensive than building a new building.
Given other options that have been considered, PAC looks to be the commonsense solution.
Still, the proposal begs a few questions.
What will be done with the rest of the old high school complex?
Is the intended use for the rest of the facility the best use of public space?
Could the entire campus be sold to private enterprise and placed back on the property tax rolls?
What will the costs be not only of purchasing the entire campus but maintaining such a sprawling facility?
If the buildings are in such a state of disrepair they could no longer serve the school system, why are they now adequate for city government?
If not adequate, what will the costs be for massive renovation?
Will the high school still be able to use the theater for its productions and will it have to pay?
We do not have the answers to all these questions but do think the community should get those answers — and more — from city leaders.
Of course, the larger question is whether or not owning and maintaining a premier entertainment venue is the province of city government.
We think these are the kinds of open, free and candid debates that should happen in city council meetings for the public to hear the deliberations and arguments both for and against.
Again, we will say, from everything we have learned from our coverage, if the city is going to own such a venue, the PAC seems to be the best option.