A $2.5 million bond issue to support the Marty Stuart Congress of Country Music and other infrastructure projects was approved by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen last week.

The board voted last Tuesday to announce their intent to issue the $2.5 million in bonds.


The motion was made by Alderman Ronnie Jenkins and seconded by Alderman Leroy Clemons. It passed on a 5-0 vote.             

The bond issue would tentatively give $1.5 million to the Congress of the Country Music. It would also help fund the upgrade and remodeling of the Booker T. gym and the annex building; work on the Valley View ditch project; and repairs to the roof on the old U.S. Motors building.

“These are big-ticket items we have on the books that the regular budget can’t cover,” Mayor James Young said. “The total amount will remain the same but how we shift it depends on how we move forward.

“We do want to support the Congress of Country Music project,” Young said. “The state has put money into the project. Outside investors are considering whether to put money into it. We as a community need to step up and show our support.”

Much of the funding would go to refurbish the Ellis Theatre that has already been gutted and needs roof work, officials said.

Young said he believes to tourism dollars the Congress of Country Music would bring in will cover the bond issue investment down the road.

“This project is more than country music, it’s about music, tourism dollars and our future,” Young said. “It is a billion-dollar industry and we want Philadelphia to get a piece of that.

“I know there will be criticism, but hey, when the issue passes, we are going to make sure every dollar will be used in a manner that the people will be proud.”

The board also approved resolution in support of the Marty Stuart Congress of Country Music in a 5-0 vote. 

Earlier this month, representatives of the Marty Stuart Congress of Country Musicasked the Board of Supervisors for $500,000 over the next five years.

Sandy Ray, Rep. Scott Bounds, Pat Thomasson, Marty Gamblin, Steve Wilkerson, Mike Tinsley and David Vowell appeared before the supervisors to request the funding.

Supervisors took the request under advisement but did pass a resolution in support of the project at the request of the representatives. 

The Congress of Country Music is expected to be a $30-million project in downtown Philadelphia on the Ellis block.