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Augusta in the running for chemical manufacturer

Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011 12:15 AM
Last updated 12:23 AM
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Two decisions Monday would help keep Augusta in the running for a chemical manufacturing facility near Augusta Regional Airport, said Walter Sprouse, the executive director of the Development Authority of Richmond County.

Sprouse said reports that the manufacturer had already selected Augusta were incorrect.

“Our goal is to get on the short list,” he said. “Don’t get eliminated.”

Augusta is one of about six Southeast cities vying for the plant, which county documents say would employ 80-100 people. The investment would be $115 million.

Going before Augusta Planning Commission on Monday is a request by the William White Barrett Estate to rezone 135 acres at 1641 Dixon Airline Road from agricultural to heavy industrial, with a special exception for chemical manufacturing. Also up for approval is a request by First Bank of Georgia to rezone an adjoining 43.83 acres at 1895 Doug Barnard Parkway from light industry to heavy industry, with a special exception for chemical manufacturing.

The site is bounded by Doug Barnard Parkway, Dixon Airline Road, a Norfolk-Southern line and Butler Creek, and is near the Kellogg and Covidien facilities.

Most important to Augusta’s remaining on the “short list” is the Augusta Commission’s approval of the city’s third tax allocation
district at the site.

“If the TAD does not pass, we will probably not get the prospect,” Sprouse said.

Like the TAD encircling Augusta’s new Villages at Riverwalk shopping center, the new TAD allows governments to finance infrastructure improvements through bonds or other means using the increased property tax increments resulting from development at the site.

Augusta’s two existing TADs take up 9.57 percent of the tax digest, approaching the maximum of 10 percent allowed by Georgia law. The new TAD would occupy less than 0.01 percent of the current digest, according to a TAD proposal Sprouse had prepared for the commission by Atlanta law firm McKenna Long & Aldridge.

The Richmond County Board of Education will have the option to expend its portion of new property taxes collected at the site on redevelopment costs.

The TAD proposal goes before Augusta’s finance committee Monday. It would need approval by the commission and also requires a public hearing, scheduled for 11:45 a.m. Nov. 28, in the commission committee room at 530 Greene St.

Two other controversial items are on Monday’s 12:50 p.m. finance committee agenda.

The committee will revisit terms of a management agreement with Augusta Riverfront LLC for the new TEE Center parking deck and a lease of existing Marriott parking to the same firm.

The deck agreements put together by City Admin­istrator Fred Russell have prompted commission members to question why the city doesn’t own the land beneath the deck it just built, and whether the management proposal with Augusta Riverfront, which also will operate the TEE Center, couldn’t be better.

“How can we utilize our resources to benefit more than one entity?” Commis­sioner Matt Aitken said Friday. “It’s the city’s parking deck.”

Also up for approval Monday is a request by Commissioner Bill Lockett for an extensive forensic audit by an outside firm of all the city’s finances and contractual obligations, including its sales tax spending, the TEE agreements, Augusta Land Bank, privately run Augusta Municipal Golf Course and Augusta Public Transit, and special water deals being afforded certain golf courses.

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countyman
21630
Points
countyman 11/04/11 - 11:53 pm
0
0
In the other article I

In the other article I mentioned the proposed chemical plant in South Augusta..

I would love to have a Village at Riverwalk, hopefully the person/group who purchased Fort Discovery can turn the property into office, retail, and restaurants. I'm sure the Chronicle meant to put the Village at Riverwatch instead..

Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 11/05/11 - 05:33 am
0
0
So, are the inherent risks of

So, are the inherent risks of this chemical plant in our area really worth 80 or so jobs? Also, how will this effect our already deplorable air quality?

I am all for jobs in the area, Lord knows we need them. But, I hope our representatives know exactly what we are getting before they allow for all of these variances, etc.

We don't need additional risky chemical plants which also come with additional fire service expense and we certainly don't need anything that will further worsen our air quality. If both of these issues can be properly addressed, then it would certainly be worth looking into further.

DuhJudge
206
Points
DuhJudge 11/05/11 - 06:00 am
0
0
Your air quality is not

Your air quality is not deplorable. Except when God provides a quiet, dry Spring after a short, warm Winter and your air turns yellow. Do not exaggerate the consequences of industrial production when the money HAS been invested to clean the remnant exhaust. I wish Augusta could be on the short list for every plant being considered anywhere. Our potential is so high because we have places like Augusta Tech that have prepared us. Please Commission, don't get in the way.

Riverman1
93494
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Riverman1 11/05/11 - 06:31 am
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0
I agree with AsitisinAugusta.

I agree with AsitisinAugusta. I'd be wary of bringing in dirty factories that dump in the air and river. Are we ever going to land a clean factory? The Germans are still looking for a location for their new plant somewhere in the southeast.

Riverman1
93494
Points
Riverman1 11/05/11 - 06:37 am
0
0
The other chemical plants and

The other chemical plants and the paper mill know they contribute a certain amount of pollution and they go out of their way to be active in the community funding various charities. But with this potential new chemical plant we create a TAD to build infrastruture for them at our expense? I wouldn't mind if this place went to Ludowici.

tabletop
30
Points
tabletop 11/05/11 - 06:59 am
0
0
After reading Riverman's

After reading Riverman's posts I wouldn't mind if he went to Ludowici

Riverman1
93494
Points
Riverman1 11/05/11 - 07:06 am
0
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Tabletop, ha. Don't feel

Tabletop, ha. Don't feel alone. Even "I" get ticked at some of Riverman's posts and want to send him to Ludowici.

seenitB4
97254
Points
seenitB4 11/05/11 - 08:41 am
0
0
I have NEVER wanted to send

I have NEVER wanted to send riverman to Ludowici.....yes we need jobs BUT chemical mess/cleanup we can do without----don't be so fast on the trigger here....a small town with more open land might be the best place for this type plant...it needs a thorough review B4 building.

countyman
21630
Points
countyman 11/05/11 - 11:26 am
0
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$100 million investments

$100 million investments during a recesssion don't fall out of the sky... Especially plants bringing 80-100 jobs were the average pay is $50k.. The plant would definitely spur future growth in South Augusta..

There's nothing but acres of empty land around the 179 acre property.. There are no residential areas located anywhere near the site. The entire area around the airport can and should accomodate several additional major industries. Manufacuturing, aerospace, logisitics, etc companies..

The property is already located in the heavy industrial area of South Augusta... Mike Padgett-Hwy 56, Marvin Griffin rd, Tobacco rd, Goshen Industrial Boulevard, and Doug Barnard.. Now let's start attracting companies to the 1,794 acre Augusta Corporate Park in South Augusta..

Every single commissioner better support the idea, or they need to be removed ASAP...

Asitisinaug
3
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Asitisinaug 11/05/11 - 02:17 pm
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DuhJudge, I will rely on the

DuhJudge, I will rely on the below article to help me form an opinion on our air quality vs. your short statement. Additionally, I personally know how much better I breath and my allergies are when I am in various other parts of the country. Our air quality is deplorable and that is no exaggeration. Of course you already know this because you not only read this article but commented on it trying to dispute the facts. IF, this will make it worse, then we don' t need it. I am all for jobs, expansion, growth, etc. All I am saying is that due diligence needs to be properly done first vs. looking at the $$ and saying yes.

Augusta Chronicle, 2010:

Augusta is among the 25 worst cities for a certain type of air pollution even as other Georgia cities have improved, according to a report from the American Lung Association released today. Although Augusta slid just under one standard from the Environmental Protection Agency, there is strong consensus that standard should be set much lower.

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In the association's "State of the Air 2010" report, the Augusta area's particle pollution is "just under a level that has been recognized by the courts and lots of scientific groups as being unhealthy," said Janice E. Nolen, the assistant vice president for national policy and advocacy for the lung association.

"In our opinion, it is not a healthy level."

Augusta was 23rd on the list of cities with the worst long-term levels of particle pollution. Yet its 14.8 micrograms per cubic meter was just under the EPA's threshold of 15 per cubic meter, Nolen said.

The lung association contends the level should be set at 12 per cubic meter.

The group sued the EPA over the standards and won, and the agency is now going back to review what it considers a safe level, Nolen said.

The association says particle pollution is typically a mixture of ash, soot, diesel exhaust, chemicals, metals and aerosols.

The report showed improvement in many areas, including Atlanta. Much of this is the result of ongoing efforts to clean up emissions from coal-fired power plants, and the impact of cleaner diesel fuel and more clean diesel engines and SUVs, Nolen said. Still, 58 percent of the country -- more than 175 million people -- live in areas with higher levels of air pollution, said Charles D. Connor, the president and CEO of the lung association.

"Nearly six out of 10 Americans lived in areas where the air could be dirty enough to send people to the hospital, dirty enough to shape how kids' lungs develop and even dirty enough to kill," he said.

About 24 million live in counties -- such as Richmond County -- that got an "F" for ozone levels.

The health effects of air pollution -- particularly particle pollution -- are very real, said Dr. Norman Edelman, the chief medical officer for the lung association.

"Here, death is a major complication, is a major effect of particle pollution," he said. "And it is a pervasive problem throughout the country. Even short-term exposure to particle pollution can be deadly."

The air pollution in Augusta definitely adds to the problems of respiratory disease, said Dennis Ownby, the chief of allergy and immunology at Medical College of Georgia Hospital and Clinics. Though health officials agree more needs to be done, it is hard to argue for reforms when the costs are so apparent and the benefits are harder to show, he said.

"It's much harder to quantify the benefits than it is to immediately calculate what the expense is going to be for these modifications," Ownby said. "That kind of slows the effort to make these kinds of changes."

But they can have dramatic effects, he said. During the 1996 Summer Olympics, an effort to cut down on traffic in downtown Atlanta was attributed to a "very large drop" in the number of children showing up with asthma problems, Ownby said.

"Presumably we would see the same kind of thing if we made that kind of substantial reduction in our air pollution level here in Richmond County," he said.

DuhJudge
206
Points
DuhJudge 11/05/11 - 07:42 pm
0
0
Finding pollution is

Finding pollution is somebody's job, so it is an agenda for scientists looking for relevance and budgets. If the particles are so bad, then why are people still smoking? Those ARE particles and don't travel but two inches to your mouth. You say deplorable.....then why is Fort Gordon allowed to burn off thousands of acres every year? That is the same government that identified your air as deplorable. Name the source of the pollution you think is making the air so bad. If you do not work there, then you have no idea. And still you ignore the particulate contribution from the very trees and grasses in your yard. You need to live in a desert to get away from them.

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