The vision of the future Augusta and North Augusta sees hundreds of new houses along the Augusta Canal and a revitalized shopping district along Broad Street that links to a new riverfront baseball stadium.
It envisions a Savannah River amphitheater flanked by a new art museum and symphonic hall and millions of dollars of new parks.
The new Augusta Tomorrow urban core development plan released today also suggests an extended Broad Street into a new Sand Bar Ferry area housing subdivision, the closing of the Fifth Street bridge to traffic to create a pedestrian shopping bridge, and a multimillion dollar health sciences research park along the newly created St. Sebastian Way.
In all, Boston-based consulting firm ICON Architecture Inc. conceived of $1.5 billion in potential development projects for Augusta and North Augusta over the course of the next 20 years.
Augusta Tomorrow, a private group of visionaries, deemed its first master plan, done in 1982, a success and then embarked last year on a new master plan with a scope that stretched beyond the downtown.
The group spent $275,000 on the plan. Of that, $95,000 came from the Augusta Commission, $31,000 from the North Augusta Council and the rest from private donations.
The 200-page plan focuses on nine specific "market creation projects" that could revitalize neighborhoods in both cities.
Many of the projects involve development along the river and Augusta's canal. Those are resources that have been underused, said John Shields, a principle with ICON.
The new master plan is historic in that it represents a regional strategy focused on both sides of the Savannah River, said Braye Boardman, chairman of the Augusta Tomorrow master plan task force.
"We are not only excited about the projects and the detail of the plan, but we're really excited about the joint planning effort by two communities that didn't have a lot of coordinated effort," Mr. Boardman said. "The river was the dividing line between North Augusta and Augusta. People go back and forth to work and to play all day, but we never did any joint planning."
Each of the projects involves a combination of public and private investment.
Mr. Boardman said the plan doesn't point to Augusta and North Augusta as "sugar daddies" to fund the projects.
"ICON is clearly putting the responsibility of getting these projects done on the various champions in the community," Mr. Boardman said.
The next step with the master plan depends on community leaders or organizations adopting an idea and working to complete it.
Market creation projects
Learn more about each of the nine revitalization projects in the new Augusta/North Augusta Urban Core Master Plan.