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Redevelopment agency approves budget

Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011 6:46 PM
Last updated 6:48 PM
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The agency charged with overseeing spending for redevelopment of Augusta's Laney Walker and Bethlehem neighborhoods signed off on a revised $7.83 million budget for the start of the project Wednesday.

The funds come from some $8 million in bonds issued in advance of receipt of an estimated $37.5 million in hotel-motel room fees going into the project over 50 years.

The budget approved by the board of Augusta's Urban Redevelopment Agency included the addition of $1.25 million in construction, acquisition, design, marketing, consulting, architectural, engineering and other services not included in the original estimated budget presented by project director Chester Wheeler.

The agency has spent $2.09 million on the project's various components as of January 2011, said Wheeler, who is director of the city's Housing and Community Development office.

Wheeler also told URA board members of a proposal to purchase the former Penny Savings Bank, the city's only black-owned bank, and convert it into the headquarters of Housing and Community Development, which will save HCD some $200,000 in annual rent payments.

Board members include former Commissioner Betty Beard and businessman James Kendrick. Kendrick advised Wheeler to be mindful of removing buildings such as the bank from the city's tax rolls and of vacating rental buildings.

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clumber 02/16/11 - 09:25 pm
More borrowed money (debt)

More borrowed money (debt) for the taxpayers. If the money was used just to build houses to replace the unuseable ones @ $100,000 per, they could build a lot of houses. After this no one could afford them as the costs of maintenance and operation would be above their income. The property tax would polish this off as viable.

countyman 02/16/11 - 10:02 pm
In the near future I predict

In the near future I predict several medical students walking and biking back and forth to the Medical District from living in the Laney Walker area...

The empty nesters, gay people, and young people start the gentrification.. Then the families come next to the area...

The mayor along with five other mayors were asked to speak at the Mayors Institute on City Design in Sante Fe, New Mexico.. The mayor discussed the efforts being made in Laney Walker and Bethlehem..

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