A parking deck – with an elevated crosswalk – might upstage Georgia Regents University at today’s Augusta Commission meeting.
At its regular 5 p.m. meeting, the commission will vote on whether to ask the University System of Georgia Board of Regents to include “Augusta” in the name of the consolidated university; but first, general counsel Andrew MacKenzie has requested a meeting at 4:30 p.m.
Two new downtown convention center parking facilities have been the subject of months of public commission debate and argument.
At the Aug. 7 meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles pointed to aspects of the draft agreements that he said cost the city revenue, and commissioners asked Mayor Deke Copenhaver to call a work session to review possible changes.
That work session “would have been helpful” but hasn’t happened, Bowles said.
Only Bowles or Copenhaver can call a meeting. Bowles said he did not request Tuesday’s meeting, and Copenhaver did not return a call seeking comment.
Bowles said the changes he wants incorporated into the parking deck management agreements will net the city an additional $80,000 annually.
“I pretty much made it clear; I wanted a 70-30 split” of profits with deck manager Augusta Riverfront LLC, he said.
Other changes up for approval include a pedestrian bridge to connect the Reynolds Street parking deck with the new convention center, Bowles said. The crosswalk is “something I wanted,” he said.
“I don’t think we need another judicial center without a parking lot,” he said, referring to insufficient parking at the courthouse.
Attorney Jim Plunkett, the special city counsel for the parking deck and convention center deals, said that the documents remain “in flux” and that potential revisions to be presented today incorporate Bowles’ and Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle’s concerns.
Guilfoyle said he was waiting to see a parking deck procedure manual and annual plan before voting to approve the agreements. Commissioner Jerry Brigham said he was taking a class and might miss the 4:30 p.m. gathering, where the agreements need six commission votes to pass.
A speaking appearance by Paul Simon, the president of Augusta Riverfront, was moved from 5 p.m. to the 4:30 p.m. session.
Augusta Riverfront shares management with Morris Communications Co., the owner of The Augusta Chronicle.