Friday meeting could be more than downtown stadium, Azziz says

A long-planned meeting Friday between Georgia Health Sciences University officials and those wanting to develop the former Georgia Golf Hall of Fame site could potentially be about more than just that property, GHSU President Ricardo Azziz said.

 

But a new facility there is “not out of the question,” he said.

The meeting with Jacoby Development and officials with Ripken Baseball and others was arranged by City Administrator Fred Russell weeks ago, Azziz said. Since then, the University System of Georgia Board of Regents has asked the state to transfer the 16-acre riverfront property to GHSU, which is merging with Augusta State University to form a new research university.

Approval is still pending in the Georgia General Assembly and until then not much can be done, Azziz said.

“This is a meeting that has been there on the books for a while,” he said. “I think we are still interested in hearing what proposals there might be. We’ve not closed down any options.”

That includes a multi-use facility that could be a new downtown baseball stadium for the Ripken-owned Augusta GreenJackets, as has been proposed in the past by the developers. Azziz had not previously been very enthusiastic about the idea but that might be changing as he looks toward the merger with ASU.

“At this point we are going to be a totally new university with an athletic program,” he said. “Certainly having a multi-use facility there is not out of the question.”

But Azziz said he needs to learn more about it and hopes the talks are not just centered on those single projects.

“I am hoping that the conversation is broader than just a discussion of one piece of property,” he said. “There are many, many pieces of property in Augusta and there’s many, many opportunities to develop these types of collaborations to move forward.”

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