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Downtown Augusta Alliance looks to revamp, revitalize involvement

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The Downtown Augusta Alliance, or D(a)2, has been a nongovernmental voice in downtown issues for eight years and has recently increased efforts to promote the downtown community.

Dr. Ben Casella, a Broad Street optometrist and president of D(a)2, said the organization has started a membership drive to get more residents and business owners involved in conversations about the future of downtown.

The group has plans to increase efforts to bring family-friendly events downtown and to have a more visible presence at Augusta Com­mission meetings and public forums.

“It’s as close to a whole new start for the alliance as we can possibly have,” Ca­sella said.

The group has 90 members. The tough economic climate has made it difficult for many downtown businesses, Casella said, and he hopes that by infusing new energy into the alliance that the community can come out of the tough times.

The membership is made up of both residents and business owners.

“A modern urban area mixes business with residential aspects,” Casella said. “Life evolves, modern towns and cities evolve and if you’re not growing, you’re dying.”

New and improved residential spaces, such as the Empor­ium or the White’s Buil­ding, have drawn more dwellers to downtown, and Casella believes the alliance needs to help make downtown a place more conducive to that, through monthly Down­town Con­nects meetings and regular involvement in downtown events.

“It’s really the cornerstone of our community,” he said.

Janie Peel, the vice president of the D(a)2 board and a commercial real estate agent with a 15-year history downtown, said D(a)2 has no public funding.

“Sometimes when you need a strong voice, it’s best if no one is paying you,” she said. “We do this because we’re passionate about it.”

The alliance has no particular agenda apart from being a team player in making downtown a better place, she said.

“We’re in it to make it better for everyone,” Peel
said. “It’s everyone’s downtown.”

Residential memberships cost $25 annually, and business memberships cost $75 annually.

LEARN MORE

For more information, call Dr. Ben Casella at (706) 722-0817 or visit facebook.com/Downtown AugustaAlliance.

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gcap
270
Points
gcap 08/21/12 - 09:46 pm
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0
D(a)2, back to the drawing board.

You got to re-think your goals now. RC voters continue to shock good citizens into wondering, "Do I REALLY want to go downtown?"

countyman
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countyman 08/22/12 - 01:23 am
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3
The price of real estate is

The price of real estate is more expensive in the CBD compared to the majority of areas across the metro/CSRA.. If the majority of tourist want seek out downtown, the residents of Augusta should follow right behind..

blues550
353
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blues550 08/22/12 - 06:38 am
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2many
Unpublished

Has it ever crossed your mind there are just too many downtown groups/organizations. Let's conduct a study to look into this.

seenitB4
80934
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seenitB4 08/22/12 - 07:37 am
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Follow

Naah...don't think so ctyman...

David Parker
7919
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David Parker 08/22/12 - 10:12 am
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I want a place downtown. Its

I want a place downtown. Its much more convenient to be apart of the activity and life down there if you don't have to get in your car and drive. The city has plenty of residential opportunities for people who are interested in defining the culture down there.

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