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Area officials mourn Georgia Archives’ closing

Move restricts public access to state’s historical records

MORROW — Morrow officials were shocked Tuesday, when they heard Gov. Nathan Deal will issue his annual Georgia Archives Month proclamation today — less than a week after state officials said the Morrow-based facility will be closed to meet budget cuts mandated by Deal.

The archives will close to the public on Nov. 1, according to Secretary of State Brian Kemp, whose offices oversee the facility. People who want to inspect historical documents after that will have to make appointments with a reduced staff.

Deal’s planning and budget office recommended cutting his budget by 3 percent, or $732,626, Kemp said.

So, when Morrow officials — already upset by the decision to close the archives — found out Deal will proclaim October to be Georgia Archives Month, their jaws dropped.

“Can you believe that [expletive]?” said Morrow Business and Tourism Association President Mike Twomey.

The closing of public access to the Georgia Archives likely will have a ripple effect. Clayton State University created a master’s degree program in archival studies because of its Morrow campus’ proximity to the Georgia Archives and the National Archives at Atlanta. Clayton County economic development officials want to attract genealogy-related businesses to the dormant Gateway Village development, located across Ga. 54 from the archives.

“I don’t know, exactly, Gov. Deal’s full interpretation of why this facility must be shut down, other than its budget cuts, but I really wish he would revisit this before it gets any further,” said Morrow Mayor Joseph “J.B.” Burke.

Less than five years ago, the archives was open five days a week. Budget cuts led to it’s being open only on Fridays and Saturdays.

“As it has been for the past two years, these cuts do not eliminate excess in the agency, but require the agency to further reduce services to the citizens of Georgia,” Kemp said in a Sept. 13 agreement. “As an agency that returns over three times what is appropriated back to the general fund, budget cuts present very challenging decisions.”

Comments

EADill 1 year, 6 months ago

Hi, I'm Elizabeth Dill, and I'm leading efforts to reverse this decision online. Please sign our global petition with over 13k signatures already at http://www.change.org/petitions/the-governor-of-ga-leave-our-state-archives-open-to-the-public. Our Facebook page is at: https://www.facebook.com/GeorgiansAgainstClosingStateArchives. Please help us in our efforts. Thank you.

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PGM 1 year, 6 months ago

Morrow is surprised??? 5 days to 2 days a week. What did they think would be next but closing. City official should stop imagining morrow an start paying attention. You can bet John Lampel would have seen this coming.

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nefarious 1 year, 6 months ago

The documents and the property were all paid for by WE THE PEOPLE and should not be closed! This will have a tremendous negative impact on our county and state. There is a tremendous draw to Clayton County because of this being here. The economic impact and the removal of our rights to have access is a tremendous loss for everyone.

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hospitallady 1 year, 6 months ago

It's a terrible shame that we can keep the libraries open but we can't keep the NATIONALARCHIVES open! Does the Governor realize what is housed in the Archives and how useful it is to the people of our state, just as useful as what our libraries provide! I guess he really doesn't want to be reelected again at least by those people in education.

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