What is cool about Augusta?

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Judging by reader comments, Georgia Health Sciences University President Ricardo Azziz seems to have hit a nerve when he suggested Augusta lacks a “cool factor” that makes it harder to recruit young researchers.

Some agreed that Augusta is dullsville and lacks events for young people, and others said the city is happening and has plenty to offer. You tell us: What is cool about Augusta? Or what would raise Augusta’s coolness quotient? E-mail reporter Meg Mirshak at meg.mirshak@augustachronicle.com or call her at (706) 823-3228. The deadline for submissions is noon Friday.

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stanlove
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stanlove 06/08/11 - 06:08 am
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Disgusta....enough said.

Disgusta....enough said.

arderkrag
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arderkrag 06/08/11 - 07:33 am
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I think the fact that all

I think the fact that all we're known for is James Brown and The Golf Tournament Which Shall Not Be Named speaks volumes.

On the other hand, if there was more going on in this town, it would attract even more people to clog up the roads than normal, so maybe it's better this way.

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
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Crime Reports and Rewards TV 06/08/11 - 06:14 pm
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Augusta has many things that

Augusta has many things that make it Cool such as low cost of living, free classified advertising, a conservative media, lots of Christian organizations who give out food and clothing, lots of jobs so you won’t need them, great horse country on both sides, and friendlier than average folks who are nicer than many folks in other parts of the country. But our greatest asset is the one few ever hear about, and that’s our river and 1,200 miles of shoreline we have on our lake.

I'm with arderkrag, once folk’s find out about Augusta they will flock here so let’s enjoy the open roads and other things we have before the stampede begins and our relative tranquility is gone forever.

LOVELYLORRAINE
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LOVELYLORRAINE 06/08/11 - 08:39 am
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When my family visits

When my family visits Augusta, I have to often tell them that there is not alot to offer them in the area of tourism....They often want to move on to Savannah or Atlanta for fun......We usually go the James Brown statue, The Riverwalk......and Lake Thurmond...I would like to see more restaraunts and shops as well as a riverboat cruise ship at the Riverwalk......as well as more police security ....To my family, Augusta is known for The Masters and The home of James Brown......, there are not alot of venues to buy anything relating to Augusta.......I will say that the Augusta Museum offers a great James Brown display. . Augusta Regional airport, could use a gift shop for Augusta/Georgia, ---the only sovernir shop I could find recently was at The Musuem.....
The Canal area has improved, and there is more to see and do there..

Piperpig
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Piperpig 06/08/11 - 08:47 am
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Well, having lived about

Well, having lived about three hours away from here for a few years, I can say Augusta is basically known for the burn center, the golf tournament, and SRS. It's funny, very few people seemed to know that the Medical College of Georgia is here and even less knew we have a military base, which was surprising. People also vaguely knew that Aiken was known for horses. For the most part, people had a positive opinion of the area.

To be cooler? Maybe the people who live in this region could accept the fact that we're all part of one metro area. Columbia County and Aiken County are not islands unto themselves. When people are insulting Augusta, they're also insulting Evans, North Augusta, and Aiken. When they're dishing it out to Augusta, they're not exempting you because you live 10 miles away.

We should also tear down the Riverwalk. It separates downtown from the river and mostly creates a place where muggers can hide in the shadows waiting for victims.

Someone needs to address the homeless problem downtown. It's absurd that we cannot do anything about it. Charleston has a massive homeless population, but you don't see homeless guys hanging out in the downtown library or congregating in large groups on the streets. It's a horrible image and it makes people avoid otherwise cool attractions.

Stanlove: thank you for your well-reasoned post. Absolutely amazing and so original.

unbiased_propaganda
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unbiased_propaganda 06/08/11 - 09:58 am
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Couldn't agree more with

Couldn't agree more with Piperpig about Stanlove's thoughtful post.

Stanlove: if it's SO disgusta, why don't you move?

People complain and criticize Augusta so much that it has become the 'cool' thing to do - BASH AUGUSTA!

I've lived in many other places and the only thing about Augusta that I found to be disgusting is the hot and humid weather. I think Augusta is a great place to live..and great entertainment and venues are only a couple hours drive away - Atlanta, Columbia, Savannah, etc.

Boogaloo
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Boogaloo 06/08/11 - 10:28 am
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I kind of like a little of

I kind of like a little of what everyone is saying above. Riverfront development should be considered in terms of restaurants (not chain eateries), water taxis, kayak and boat rentals (no motors) and other amenities. Of course the area needs to be secured and clean.
The Augusta National provides the area with funds and that is to be commended. However, the property itself is off limits to the general public. It would be nice, and profitable, with all the land that they are purchasing, for them to have something open for the general public. It wouldn't have to intrude on the course itself. Gift shops, small concessions, museum, maybe even a small 9 hole golf course, anything that a visitor could see and tell their friends about. It's called "tourism".
Is Augusta "cool" right now? Not on a grand scale but there are pockets of coolness if you know where to go.

BlackArtsCSRA
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BlackArtsCSRA 06/08/11 - 10:31 am
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Two fronts...One: (To the

Two fronts...One: (To the Arts and Entertainment Commnity) we as the arts and entertainment community have to raise the bar on what we are doing, as people are judging us by the best they have seen anywhere in the world, which means we are being judged against the best music they have heard, museum they have visited, plays they have attended, books they have read etc... Two: we have to be a lot more supportive of each other and make an effort to be patrons of the arts, not just our own, also promote others...if you can attend...that is great, but we can also send others, send an email, make a call on our brethren's behalf, and of course invest in the goods artists and arts groups in this area...these three will help change that perception...this is our industry and we are responsible. (To the general public)…seek out the arts…there are a lot of great surprises throughout the CSRA, I personally know of a number of amazing creative talents and arts agencies that are truly elevating what they are doing…but you have to know that it’s a function of supply and demand…if we go all out to do this amazing work and you don’t support us, then it makes it difficult for us to continue to make that kind of investment…we challenge you to explore the CSRA…this region will be what we make it…and know that many of us in the arts and entertainment community are doing what we can to make our city move.

town_is_kaput
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town_is_kaput 06/08/11 - 11:04 am
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It's not the town.....it's

It's not the town.....it's the people!!

Emerydan
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Emerydan 06/08/11 - 01:10 pm
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I think its more of the

I think its more of the attitude of many people around here than the place itself.. Augusta has a good framework to work with. The downtown COULD be great. But I think what holds the area back is a lack of good ideas or an overall vision for what could be. And it seems when anyone has a suggestion or a good idea, they are immediately shot down instead of heard out. And there is also this xenophobic attitude in Augusta where anone who did not grow up in the CSRA is an outsider and their opinions don't matter you know that familiar "well if you don't like it here then Delta is ready when you are." It's not about not liking Augusta, but anyplace can improve and can be better.. and lord knows there's plenty of room for improvement in Augusta. Case in point is Dr. Azziz's proposal to turn the stretch of Laney-Walker into a grassy commons area, creating something similar to the north campus quandrangle at UGA is a great idea.. but because he is an outsider and not from Augusta, his idea is immediately criticized and shot down.. without even looking into the merits of it. This kind of knee jerk mentality is all too pervasive in Augusta. I believe that if Dr Azziz was an Augusta native and lived here all of his life then people may have been more receptive to his proposal.. that kind of thinking has to change. Because it is often people who have lived in other places who can bring a different perspective and new ideas to the area. Another thing we have to fix is our perceived lack of tolerance.. this become very evident with the vitriolic rhetoric surrounding last year's gay pride parade. But I have to give Augusta points for even having one (and it seemed to go off rather successfully).. this should atleast begin to chip away at the notion that Augusta is an intolerant environment for gays, but some of the rhetoric was pretty nasty and some of the things I routinely see in the daily paper I'm sure would make gay people never consider living here. Then you have the local government, which always seems to split along racial lines.. there seems to be little outreach between the two sides and the fact no women are represented for a city of 200,000 seems a bit odd.

Mr. Thackeray
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Mr. Thackeray 06/08/11 - 02:13 pm
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You folks don't get it. "Some

You folks don't get it. "Some agreed that Augusta is dullsville and lacks events for young people" You old farts want one thing but kids want something else and it definitely cannot be found here!!!

Sweet son
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Sweet son 06/08/11 - 02:36 pm
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Mr. Thackery, we old farts as

Mr. Thackery, we old farts as you call us do get it! We live here because we choose to! We were raised here, we raised our families here and are continuing by raising our grandchildren here. If you can't find what you are looking for then get in your car and travel where ever the road leads. If you don't want to drive then as one of the commenters said; "Delta is ready when you are!" And I am really not trying to be critical!(: Dr. Cool is going to have to learn to play the game or he won't last long.

Chillen
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Chillen 06/08/11 - 02:50 pm
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I've lived in several major

I've lived in several major metropolitan areas, and the young folks there thought they were dullsville too. Young people are always bored & looking for exciting things to do, no matter where they are. Augusta is not unique in it's "dullsville" status.

Personally, as I age, I prefer dullsville. Big cities with lots to offer also offer lots of crime, traffic & headaches.

EMS6465
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EMS6465 06/08/11 - 03:15 pm
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I agree with Stanlove,

I agree with Stanlove, Disaugusta is right, The City and County are 15 years behind the nation. I have lived all over the country and was transfered here 4 years ago and was told that Augusta is the 2nd largest City in Ga. When we arrived I was shocked that actually that Augusta is so small. The City/County goverment depends on the Masters to support the city. There is alot of History in Augusta that could be used to bring in the tourist for that extra dollar. Augusta should take a look at Savannah and Pensacola Fla. to see what they have done to bring in the tourist with there history. There could be alot of improvements to attract people, to make money you have to spend money and the only improvements I see are along Washington rd. area of the Masters that is seen only one time a year on TV. I never see any advertising for people to vistit Augusta unlike Savannah. Wake Up Augusta and catch up with the rest of the World.

MaggieHenry
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MaggieHenry 06/08/11 - 03:32 pm
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This is hilarious. Name a

This is hilarious. Name a cool southern city. Come on, first one that pops in your head. Greenville, Charleston, Nashville, Charlotte, Birmingham. (please tell me you didn't say Atlanta or Jacksonville) Now why are they cool? Money. Where is most of our money? Columbia County. Why? Because they tired of having there green egg stolen off their back porch. How do we get get people in Columbia County to drive downtown other than maybe a Lexus or GMC dealership with special on white Tahoes? Build the baseball stadium, surround it with high end shops (good luck finding those investors) or put an amphitheater that host major summer concerts every Friday night.

Here is a bad idea. Clear cutting the canal, building a bass pro shop, and giving people in Columbia country further reason to avoid the Augusta Mall or any other established shopping area.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 06/08/11 - 04:18 pm
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Why I Didn't Spend My Summer

Why I Didn't Spend My Summer Vacation in Augusta, GA.

When we talk about this coolness factor meaning the scarcity of the arts, clubs and restaurants, realize the small base we are working from.

First let's note the racial demographics. There are cultural differences in the type entertainment the races support. Richmond County is only 40% white in a population of just under 200,000.

Next realize the economics of Richmond County. The median income for a household is $38,004, and the median income for a family $52,892. Males have a median income of $30,028 versus $23,512 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,133.

Compare that with Columbia County. The median income for a household in the county is $65,507, and the median income for a family is $72,891. Males have a median income of $45,577 versus $28,190 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,578.

So being honest here, we (and Dr. Azziz) are talking about the type of entertainment upscale whites would likely enjoy. To support this entertainment we have a very small white population that is not anywhere near affluent with expendable dollars.

On the other hand, if you had a city with a true population of 200,000 of upscale spenders, the private sector would have already provided those entertainment establishments. The free market always gives you what you deserve.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 06/08/11 - 04:19 pm
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You have to realize what you

You have to realize what you are and work with what you have. Optimism is good, but you don't want to play golf for money with any of the ASU players. (Not that those college kids ever gamble.) I know a local physician who went bankrupt betting mega sums with players he should have never played with.

The End.

Just My Opinion
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Just My Opinion 06/08/11 - 07:50 pm
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I think Maggie is right.

I think Maggie is right. Putting the baseball stadium DOWNTOWN would draw people to it because it's different and creates a destination point...some place to go for one major thing, but it also offers other things to supplement that major event. An ampitheater that showcases talent on a continuing basis is another great idea. The ampitheater downtown could be used for this..again, a destination point, with other things supporting it. EVERYONE talks about the dreadful and miserable heat...what about a water park? If it's done right, it would make money and bring people from surrounding areas in to the area to spend their money here. Whatever is planned, the focus needs to be FUN.

Pu239
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Pu239 06/08/11 - 08:48 pm
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From a salary review of MCG
Unpublished

From a salary review of MCG Administration employees published in the Chronicle last May "Salaries paid to the administration have increased more than 50 percent in five years, more than double the rate of salary increases overall at the school, according to an analysis by The Augusta Chronicle." I don't know of many people that have salary increases anywhere near that range in the past 5 years. Now that's COOL! If all of those folks would just become philanthropic.....Instant COOL!

Sweet Tooth
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Sweet Tooth 06/08/11 - 10:27 pm
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As an university teacher and

As an university teacher and researcher, I spent parts of my career in what I'd call cool cities (Atlanta, Boston), part in marginally cool cities (Bethesda, DC), and some in non-cool cities (Jacksonville, Augusta). I never once accepted or declined a position based on my perceived coolness-factor of the city. The job itself and the opportunities for professional advancement offered by the job were the important factors.

Dr. Azziz needs to concentrate more on developing a quality work environment at Gazoo (GHSU), and spend less time complaining about the city he chose to move to.

ECDanes
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ECDanes 06/09/11 - 12:07 am
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Augusta is not cool.. it's

Augusta is not cool.. it's cheap. that's the main reason people move here.. it's sort of the Marshalls or TJ Maxx or Old Navy of cities.. don't kid yourselves. few of us came her becausew we wanted to. In fact we do NOT plan on retiring in this area and if better jobs opened up in anpther city we would gladly leave this area.

freeradical
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freeradical 06/09/11 - 05:09 am
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Killer Kool Man. Another kool

Killer Kool Man.

Another kool killing last night in the historic Bon Air.

Wake up Augusta and captalize on our night life strengths.

Almost nightly murders, home invasions, knifings,etc,etc,&etc,,,.

What is wrong with you people?

Even our most prominent citizens like superior court Judge Overstreet

being forced to fend for his life in a middle of the night home invasion in

the heart of one of our most fashionable districts.

How avant-garde can you get?

The kool factor is off the charts if we will just look around.

81 year old men being gunned down in their easy chairs by smiling

carefree, nightlife loving kool youths of the community.

Come on people how Midnight In The Garden of Good And Evil do we

have to get?

We are Augusta and we are way vibrant dudes.

ZenoElia
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ZenoElia 06/09/11 - 05:55 am
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With the heat we have this

With the heat we have this month, you want to ask us, 'what about Augusta is cool?'...tsk, tsk. I like freeradical's comment above. This town will never be cool until the crime wave ends and the politicians become honest and consider the rest of us in making their decisions. As for MCG or whatever they call it now...changing the name doesn't make it cool, just harder to refer to after being called MCG since it's inception. Whitewashing doesn't hide the old paint for long.

Common.sense
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Common.sense 06/09/11 - 12:09 pm
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Riverman that is the

Riverman that is the physicians fault. When you do stupid things you win stupid prizes.

PrayN4U
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PrayN4U 06/09/11 - 01:01 pm
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As far as Augusta being

As far as Augusta being "Cool", it depends on what your idea of cool is. It doesn't have a lot of things for teenagers to do but it is a great retirement community for older people. MCG it not an attraction for fun. August livens up during the Masters, Carnival time, and the Fest. The theater life has lots to offer if you can feel safe at night downtown. If Augusta had a major theme park like Six Flags or Disney. We have Krystal Springs Water Park in Evans. There is a lot to do here in Augusta if you just take the time to look it up. If you think our crime rate is bad the go to Atlanta. All in all Augusta is what you make it.

Chillen
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Chillen 06/09/11 - 01:09 pm
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What or where is the Krystal

What or where is the Krystal Springs Water Park in Evans? I haven't heard of it yet.

PrayN4U
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PrayN4U 06/10/11 - 10:36 am
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My bad, the water park is

My bad, the water park is closed but another one would be a great attraction for tourist.

ECDanes
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ECDanes 06/10/11 - 11:39 am
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prayn4u.. maybe there was a

prayn4u.. maybe there was a reason why the last one closed? Maybe not enough business? Operating costs too high?

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