Downtown improvements to start soon

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Several downtown improvement projects are slated to get under way in the coming months.

A $2.7 million effort to improve lighting on Broad Street should begin in the next 30 days and a new, permanent stage is planned for performances at Riverwalk Augusta between Eight and Ninth streets, Downtown Development Authority of Augusta officials said at a meeting Thursday.

Streetscape improvements to James Brown Boulevard also are in the works.

The lighting project will stretch from 13th Street to Fifth Street and include new traffic signals, street lights and lights for the parking areas in the middle of Broad Street.

The work will be completed block by block and should be finished by July 2011, said Margaret Woodard, the DDA executive director.

Traffic would be affected because the work will likely mean only one lane would remain open in each area, Woodard said.

A design plan for a new "river stage" is complete, and officials hope the area will be completed as early as December.

Although there is a stage near the Ninth Street section of the Riverwalk, it is a makeshift one made of wooden boards. The stage is now used for the popular Candlelight Jazz series.

"It's a nice little area kind of tucked in there," said David Loper, the owner of Architectural Concepts, who designed the project. "We just want to give it a facelift."

Woodard estimated the stage will cost between $50,000 and $55,000. Its design draws inspiration from nearby Jessye Norman Amphitheater, Loper said.

Members of the DDA Board of Directors approved Thursday diverting $20,000 that had been planned for tree well improvements to go to the stage instead. The tree well project, which adds decorative tiles around the trees, is on the back-burner for the time being.

The stage and improvements to the area surrounding it will help provide more green space downtown, Woodard said.

"It will be nice so people can just go sit and hang by the river," she said.

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floridasun
279
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floridasun 08/12/10 - 12:51 pm
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Sounds like positive

Sounds like positive improvements for downtown. The city does need to replace the trees along Broad Street that have been removed . There is a stump near the Confederate monument and another in front of the News Building, as well as several other missing trees that have been like this for a long time. I thought Augusta was the Garden City.

charliemanson
1
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charliemanson 08/12/10 - 12:51 pm
0
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Yep.....you can tell election

Yep.....you can tell election time is near.

countyman
19155
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countyman 08/12/10 - 01:02 pm
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Charliemanson, most of the

Charliemanson, most of the work is being paid for by GA DOT and not the city of Augusta...

The cost of the new Broad streetlights/traffic signals is $4 million... Maybe the article is only printing the money($2.7 million) GA DOT is funding....

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 08/12/10 - 01:01 pm
0
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Better late then never, just

Better late then never, just hope they can move faster on this then they did that streetscape by the Bees Knees... that took forever.

mike71345
75
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mike71345 08/12/10 - 01:01 pm
0
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This is great. Now when will

This is great. Now when will the city start maintaining the roads and sidewalks and streetlights in Olde Town (below Fifth St)? The gutters in the roads there are regularly clogged with leaves and sticks and garbage. Are there any plans to bring back regular street sweeping? The city made Olde Town a historic district, and yet the city is the biggest, most negligent property owner there. How can the city always find more money to dump into that narrow, cramped, claustrophobic street which is called Broad?

countyman
19155
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countyman 08/12/10 - 01:03 pm
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Mike71345... Broad and

Mike71345... Broad and Reynolds are GA DOT projects...... They're not the city of Augusta...

mike71345
75
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mike71345 08/12/10 - 01:12 pm
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Oh, my bad. No wonder the DDA

Oh, my bad. No wonder the DDA representative at one of the Olde Town Neighborhood Association meetings told us, "Don't expect city services in Olde Town. The city is out of money. You're on you own down here."
I totally understand now. Thanks.

countyman
19155
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countyman 08/12/10 - 03:38 pm
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There probably was no money

There probably was no money set aside for Olde Town between 5th and East Boundary.... The city definitely isn't out of money.....

Fawkes
37
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Fawkes 08/13/10 - 03:16 am
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Maybe one day they will do

Maybe one day they will do some work on Wrightsboro rd, its in dire need of paving.

Even with all of this being spent you still wont be able to walk 50ft without someone trying to bum money from you

Brad Owens
4102
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Brad Owens 08/13/10 - 06:06 am
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countryman, I have no doubt

countryman,

I have no doubt you work for the DDA now.

Brad

naycan
42
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naycan 08/13/10 - 08:43 am
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Just a factoid. The money

Just a factoid. The money being spent on the streetlight/traffic control devises is from SPLOST funds from six years ago. The DDA has nothing to do with the project other than sit in on meetings. The story implies the DDA is doing this project when it is actually the Public Works department's responsibility. Also I am amazed they are going to hook up new lights to a wiring system from the 1940's. Just wanted all of you to know whwere

Little Lamb
43901
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Little Lamb 08/13/10 - 08:53 am
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If he doesn't work for DDA,

If he doesn't work for DDA, he must be Margaret's boyfriend.

Little Lamb
43901
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Little Lamb 08/13/10 - 09:15 am
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The traffic lights on Broad

The traffic lights on Broad and Reynolds actually work just fine. I wish they would spend the money on something that is broken.

dstewartsr
20388
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dstewartsr 08/13/10 - 09:24 am
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"(T)here is a stage .... a

"(T)here is a stage .... a makeshift one made of wooden boards ... (i)t's a nice little area kind of tucked in there ... we just want to give it a facelift. Woodard estimated the stage will cost between $50,000 and $55,000..."

Priorities?

omnomnom
3964
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omnomnom 08/13/10 - 04:48 pm
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dstewartsr, out of wack, yes

dstewartsr, out of wack, yes

Indigo
4
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Indigo 08/14/10 - 09:40 am
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Improving JBB is like tossing

Improving JBB is like tossing the money in the river...........

catfish20
250
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catfish20 08/21/10 - 08:05 am
0
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I am so happy to hear they

I am so happy to hear they are improving the lighting on Broad Street.

C2Soldier
0
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C2Soldier 09/20/10 - 02:16 pm
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How will this stage help

How will this stage help downtown? Lights..mmmmmm maybe but another stage? I have an Idea. Let's tear down a few of the older (to costly to repair) buildings and put in a few parks/ fountains. build something that gives the town character. If you are going to build a stage, open it to anyone who would like to show up there and perform for free. Encourage small bands/ artists/ painters to set up around town with no cost to the vendor. This would encourage patrons to come downtown. We have a large college community here and should be getting these individuals involved!

Brad Owens
4102
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Brad Owens 09/22/10 - 08:45 am
0
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So they are getting rid of

So they are getting rid of the much needed tree boxes to build an "out of the way place?"

Sounds great to me (eyes rolling)

Brad

Little Lamb
43901
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Little Lamb 09/22/10 - 08:54 am
0
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I wonder what this means —

I wonder what this means — Margaret Woodard said:

The stage and improvements to the area surrounding it will help provide more green space downtown.

How can you provide more greenspace by building a stage?

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