Deal to clean up, patrol downtown

Sidewalk cleaners, hospitality ambassadors and safety patrols could be roaming downtown Augusta streets later this month.

Those employees, part of the Clean Augusta Downtown Initiative being funded by a recently created business improvement district, will be managed by Philadelphia-based Service Group Inc.

The district's board of directors approved Thursday a three-year contract with the company, which will operate out of the White's Building on Broad Street.

Because the business improvement district's services are funded by tax money that won't be collected until November, it is seeking a loan to get the Clean Augusta Downtown Initiative, known as CADI, under way. The board said it expects to get a financing commitment from lenders in one to three weeks.

Service Group Inc. will provide the equipment and personnel to patrol and clean downtown Augusta. Company executive vice president Steve Hillard said it will take three weeks from the time the money is ready to get uniforms, buy equipment and train the personnel.

"Downtown will improve. The perception of downtown will improve," said Barry White, director of the Augusta Convention and Visitor's Bureau, who also sits on the CADI board.

The district, known as a BID, encompasses 30 downtown blocks. Businesses in the district will pay an additional tax assessment to fund the extra services.

The assessment is expected to generate $400,000 annually, said Margaret Woodard, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority. The annual contract with Service Group Inc. is $374,000.

ON THE BOARD

Business Improvement District board members:

- Donald Bailey

- Davenport Bruker

- Len Carter

- Bryan Haltermann

- Tennent Houston

- Paul King*

- Robert Kuhar

- Darryl Leech

- Sanford Loyd

- Julian Osbon

- Jeff Partl

- Fred Russell*

- Tillman Salls

- Berry Smith

- Barry White*

- Margaret Woodard*

*Nonvoting member

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