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'Veranda concept' presented for downtown Augusta

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Augusta Commission member Marion Williams wants to give a section of Broad Street a face-lift by building an “urban veranda” that would feature seating areas and green space on top of two parking bays.

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Augusta Commisioner Marion Williams wants to give a section of Broad Street a facelift by building an "urban veranda" on top of two parking bays that would feature seating areas and green space. The proposal calls for it to be built on top of the parking bay between Eighth and Ninth streets, at an estimated cost of $3 million.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Augusta Commisioner Marion Williams wants to give a section of Broad Street a facelift by building an "urban veranda" on top of two parking bays that would feature seating areas and green space. The proposal calls for it to be built on top of the parking bay between Eighth and Ninth streets, at an estimated cost of $3 million.

Williams presented his “Urban Veranda Concept” to Downtown Development Authority board members Thursday during their monthly meeting. The renderings, created by architect firm URS, show sodded areas, sculptures and trellises over the middle sunken parking sections on Broad Street between Eighth and Ninth streets. The plan also incorporates a misting station, seating areas and a “water wall” on two sides of the James Brown statue.

“It’s just a concept,” Williams said. “I’m just trying to think out of the box. I’m trying to do something that will attract people to downtown.”

In his previous stint as a commissioner, Williams proposed several plans he thought would enhance the city, including building a dragstrip off Hephzibah-McBean Road and adding music and lights to the James Brown statue.

The estimated cost for the veranda project is $3 million, with funding provided through the 1 percent transportation sales tax, Williams said.

“I guess my only concern is tying it in to all of Broad Street downtown,” said Sanford Loyd, a development authority board member.

The authority’s director, Margaret Woodard, said many downtown business owners whom she’s spoken with love the idea, but some did voice concerns about the structure’s height and money for its maintenance.

Dustin Lucas, a senior artist at Lucky 7 Tattoo at 820 Broad St., hadn’t heard of the proposal but said it sounded interesting.

“Anything along that vein couldn’t hurt,” Lucas said. “Broad Street needs every bit of help it can get. It doesn’t sound like a negative thing.”

Next door, Noura Gordon manages Pyramid Music & Video, which has been in the 800 block of Broad Street for 45 years. She agreed that the idea could be a good one.

“The way it sounds, it sounds like a great beautifying project,” Gordon said.

Williams said the existing parking areas wouldn’t change, although the raised green space would only be tall enough for an “average truck” to park underneath. He said the design would require that some trees be removed.

The commissioner envisions full lighting and security cameras on the property.

The upstairs space would run the length of both parking lots and could be entered on either end by stairs or a ramp for wheelchair accessibility. The conceptual drawings also show staircases built near the statue in the middle and an overhead pedestrian walk.

“This is something where people can have weddings upstairs,” Williams said.

Williams said he has discussed the plans with Mayor Deke Copenhaver, city engineers and several commissioners, who are on board with the project. He said he plans to talk with more residents and the “general public” before presenting anything to the full commission.

“I want the community to wrap their arms around this,” Williams said. “I want the community to say this is what we need.”

Urban Veranda Concept Board

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Pops
7001
Points
Pops 06/13/13 - 08:30 pm
7
0
I have subscribed to the

Augusta Archives for three years. I am 60 years old and enjoy searching and reading ACTUAL Augusta Chronicle articles going back to 1792. If any of you out there subscribe, do a search from, oh say, 1979 to 1990 on the subject of "downtown revitalization". Article after article will come up with a common thread.......countless upon countless studies....consultants....what could be if we did this and that......more of the same.......consulting firms are laughing all the way to the bank.....and in these articles there are sunshine pumpers galore......just like we have now.

nocnoc
38642
Points
nocnoc 06/13/13 - 08:42 pm
5
0
I'll support it right AFTER

I'll support it right AFTER the South Side gets Veranda's on our fire towers ☺☻

Face it this is Just Another DownTown Tax and Spend Project.

How about some Taxpayer Quid pro quo?
With the Rural Taxpayers kicking well over 60% of the Property Taxes what we gotten to show for our $$$$ since consolidation?

We did not even get centralized Government, or a COMCAST Full Service Office.

triscuit
2856
Points
triscuit 06/13/13 - 08:44 pm
6
0
Who selected that firm to

Who selected that firm to design this? Who paid for said design? Note that once again it's not a local company....

Gage Creed
15799
Points
Gage Creed 06/13/13 - 08:58 pm
4
0
Pay no attention to the man

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.....

GnipGnop
11543
Points
GnipGnop 06/13/13 - 09:43 pm
6
0
You are really bragging....

that your high schools rose 5 points to 59%? It is true though that Five Guys will need people to give out that extra pan of fries....Quit throwing the magnet schools in the mix they are not typical schools. They take the best of the best. It's like the Allstars of schools...

bdouglas
4509
Points
bdouglas 06/13/13 - 09:51 pm
7
0
Has anybody else thought

Has anybody else thought about the implications of covering up those two sunken parking lots? Lately people have been commenting on the design of them and how they are out of easy view and prime targets for theft or vandalism. What would covering them up and making them even less visible do for this? I can't say I'd ever want to park in either of them after dark unless there was enough lighting inside them to make it look like daylight....but that probably wouldn't happen because of how visually unattractive that would make it. Just thinking out loud...

GnipGnop
11543
Points
GnipGnop 06/13/13 - 10:16 pm
5
0
Pops is wise

Those that fail to learn from their past mistakes are destined to repeat them...

Pops
7001
Points
Pops 06/13/13 - 10:33 pm
5
0
As a matter of fact

those two sunken parking lots were part of the first big wave of "downtown revitalization" efforts to bring folks back downtown
after the malls had opened and retail basically left Broad Street.
The Chamber of Commerce building was also put in the center
of Broad. Sure turned things around........not......

Dixieman
12992
Points
Dixieman 06/13/13 - 11:01 pm
7
0
Coming to the CSRA soon: VSPLOST!

Yes folks, the Veranda Special Local Option Sales Tax will soon be imposed to fund this monstrosity! (Sorry, TSPLOST done already got spent). Lessee...we're paying 7%...let's go to 10% or 11%...North Augusta and Aiken County merchants will love it and be its strongest supporters...
What did you say? Hire more cops to patrol the CBD instead? Nevah happen. But surely you don't think covering the parking would make it less safe to park there, hmmmmmm? Nice, dark, covered, concealed area where you can park your car. C'mon down! Probably no one lurking in the shadows under there. Well, maybe just a few downtown baddies.
This is the worst idea I have seen in a long time, even for Augusta.
I will go lie down in front of the surveying crew if I have to to stop this.

Bodhisattva
5631
Points
Bodhisattva 06/14/13 - 06:26 am
3
0
There are already several

There are already several water features downtown. All you have to do is wait until dark and glance down some of the side streets.

nocnoc
38642
Points
nocnoc 06/14/13 - 06:27 am
4
0
If memory serves me

If memory serves me correctly.

That first big wave of "downtown revitalization"
was Federally funded, and it has been brought up before as an
"EXCUSE" for not undoing the mess.

Something about having to repay the Fed's ... which to me after 30 years seems bogus.

Bodhisattva
5631
Points
Bodhisattva 06/14/13 - 06:40 am
5
0
Just think of how much

Just think of how much beautification and improvement the city could have done if it had the excess between what was approved by the voters and what was finally spent on the TEE Center. If every independent businessman downtown received $40-$60 million dollars of taxpayer money just imagine how nice the city could be, and how much money each of those private businessmen could make, from taxpayers money. I guess those kind of deals don't pop up every day, and when they do, it's only for certain private business people. Heck, I could build a real nice place for 40 million with an almost $20 million dollar parking lot. If I could just get the taxpayers to pay me to run it for them I'd really be in business. Make all of the profits from the business plus get paid to run it. Give everyone that deal and we'd have a booming downtown. I'd bet they could even afford to pay for private security so we'd have a safe downtown and could free up the cops to be used in other parts of the city. Sounds like a win-win. Let's do it.

allhans
23288
Points
allhans 06/14/13 - 09:10 am
1
0
Was security added to the

Was security added to the budget?

I can imagine the scene in a week or so.....

gargoyle
13614
Points
gargoyle 06/14/13 - 02:37 pm
0
0
The Cabal did it again, no

The Cabal did it again, no one is talking about how roads and bridges are falling apart. The only thing they want to talk about is how many wheelbarrows of money can be diverted to the golden four square miles of Richmond county.

seeingdublin
3
Points
seeingdublin 06/15/13 - 05:25 pm
1
0
James Brown appreciates the thought, but

he would like the ice in his arena fixed first, so that hockey can be played in 2013-14. That will attract people to downtown.

scoutmomjesi
2
Points
scoutmomjesi 06/26/13 - 10:36 pm
0
0
what about all the other "projects" that augusta has started

i swear sometimes i wonder if teenagers are running our government ... start one project and before they finished that one they move to the next. Lets get Riverwalk safe before adding another place downtown. I do recall reading just the other week how the commissioners were saying 100,000 was too much to cut back the trees on riverwalk to make it safer and the cameras was going to be expensive. Now they are talking about a 3 million dollar project. What about the golf gardens that went un attended and went under , how about the art park over by mellow mushroom that nothing is getting done to.Yes I want a beautiful downtown to enjoy but if it is an unsafe place then how are people going to enjoy it.How are the police going to patrol this new area when there isnt enough in the budget to patrol what we have now.Take care of what we have now make it a better place for families to enjoy again then come back to discuss a veranda.

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