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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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seenitB4
87180
Points
seenitB4 06/13/13 - 01:51 pm
5
1
Veranda is ok

Veranda & ramp sound like a solid idea...but music & water at the J Brown statue..naaahhhh
Keep it for seating--flowers-& maybe trellis with green -flowers & plants...you only need a ramp....won't need steps too...
Don't OVERDO it.
You could run people off with music ....because I know it won't be the taste of all.

Sweet son
10398
Points
Sweet son 06/13/13 - 01:51 pm
7
0
Nothing wrong with sprucing up Broad Street but

using transportation funds at a cost of $3million seems a little far "out of the box." Too many roads, bridges etc. that need attention.

Sweet son
10398
Points
Sweet son 06/13/13 - 01:52 pm
4
0
Little Lamb
46021
Points
Little Lamb 06/13/13 - 02:18 pm
7
0
Tree Haters

Joyce Kilmer would be sad. Every new "plan" for downtown wants to kill the trees we have down there. People don't realize how much cooling is furnished by those trees. And in the summertime, Augusta needs all the cooling shade it can get. That downtown asphalt and concrete will feel miserable if you kill off all the trees.

Brad Owens
4429
Points
Brad Owens 06/13/13 - 02:43 pm
9
0
Block the view?

Wouldn't that obscure the view of the Commons from the none Commons side?

One billion for the Mill project, three million for this, 100 million for TEE, millions here, millions there, no jobs.

countyman
20120
Points
countyman 06/13/13 - 03:26 pm
3
8
Progressive

Brad... Why would any company invest in Augusta if the city didn't invest first? The Laney Walker/Bethlehem and TEE Center have created jobs in Augusta. The Cultural/Mills campus would bring even higher quality jobs. The Veranda is moving Augusta in the right direction.. This city should be tired of losing the future leaders of tomorrow to Atlanta, Charlotte, Raleigh, etc right after they graduate high school.

Pops
8462
Points
Pops 06/13/13 - 03:37 pm
17
0
Hurry up and build it

so the county can save money by not maintaining it. Augusta Golf and Gardens.....Riverwalk.......

"If you build it.....it will rot....."

KSL
129497
Points
KSL 06/13/13 - 03:39 pm
8
1
It sounds like lipstick on a

It sounds like lipstick on a pig. Take care of the pig's needs first.

KSL
129497
Points
KSL 06/13/13 - 03:41 pm
4
1
I like pops' comment.

I like pops' comment.

Riverman1
83907
Points
Riverman1 06/13/13 - 03:46 pm
7
0
Anybody remember Mr. Williams

Anybody remember Mr. Williams idea to have music coming from the JB statue required that you put a dollar in it? It seems like you could get your picture taken with the statue too. This veranda is going to run into problems with the Disabilities Act. Won't it require an elevator for the disabled?

Riverman1
83907
Points
Riverman1 06/13/13 - 03:49 pm
7
0
Class-Up Downtown

It could be a plus for the Lucky 7 Tattoo Shop. Their customers waiting could sit on the veranda and take off their shirts or whatever while getting ready to be inked. Maybe they could do some outdoor tattooing and let the people watch.

Pops
8462
Points
Pops 06/13/13 - 03:58 pm
7
0
I will be watching the news tonight

I just want to hear Williams say "veranda concept"........

countyman
20120
Points
countyman 06/13/13 - 06:50 pm
2
8
Little Lamb
46021
Points
Little Lamb 06/13/13 - 04:10 pm
9
0
Jobs

No, Countyman, jobs paid with tax money do not constitute "new" jobs. If the taxes were left in the pockets of the tax payers, there would be private sector jobs created in the free market, which is more efficient than the command and control government system. Every job you see funded by government money is accompanied by a job never created by the market.

Lori Davis
920
Points
Lori Davis 06/13/13 - 04:10 pm
13
0
Bigger question. Who paid

Bigger question. Who paid for the the artist rendering and what budget did it come out of?

seenitB4
87180
Points
seenitB4 06/13/13 - 04:29 pm
6
0
Cut back on this idea

3 million is too much for this....cut back to 1 million...& this
through T-SPLOST, the 1-percent sales tax for transportation projects

I thought that money was for ROADS...

Little Lamb
46021
Points
Little Lamb 06/13/13 - 04:45 pm
8
0
Improper Funding Source

You are correct, SeenIt. T-Splost is for transportation. Adding entertainment venues on top of existing parking lots does not help transportation at all.

Augusta is littered with pot holes and manhole covers sticking up above the pavement and sunken below the pavement. Let's put T-Splost money into infrastructure improvement, not parking lot covers.

Little Lamb
46021
Points
Little Lamb 06/13/13 - 04:49 pm
5
0
Riverwatch

Here's something for T-SPLOST dollars: re-surface Riverwatch Parkway. Right now it is so uneven it feels like you are riding the Dahlonega Mine Train.

Also, the patch of Scott Nixon Mem. Blvd. from Davis Road to the west side of Bobby Jones Expressway was uneven from the day it was built. Ga. DOT contracted out the work, and whatever DOT inspector and Augusta inspector signed off on that job should be fired and fined. Re-surface it!

lifelongresident
1323
Points
lifelongresident 06/13/13 - 04:58 pm
0
0
how about money for more and
Unpublished

how about money for more and bigger jails for all of the rats, roaches, and vermin robbing, raping, and selling drugs

my.voice
4824
Points
my.voice 06/13/13 - 05:04 pm
6
0
Maybe he and Andy could

Maybe he and Andy could collaborate and bring kayaking to Augusta.

restguy
320
Points
restguy 06/13/13 - 05:17 pm
4
2
bring back the plan of

bring back the plan of turning some of downtowns streets into canals like in San Antonio too...

Little Lamb
46021
Points
Little Lamb 06/13/13 - 05:17 pm
7
3
Kayak

People are already kayaking in Augusta. They kayak in the river on the fall line up above the pumping station. But that's not good enough for the "everything has to be downtown" crowd.

itsanotherday1
43131
Points
itsanotherday1 06/13/13 - 05:25 pm
8
0
I agree with the naysayers.

I agree with the naysayers. You would get more bang for the buck by dressing up sidewalks and storefronts. If there is money available to do something, start at 13th st, and replace the cracking, stained, and ugly sidewalks with brick. Work it block by block to 5th street as the splost money comes in.

Excellent, excellent point LL; about government jobs = fewer jobs in the private sector.

itsanotherday1
43131
Points
itsanotherday1 06/13/13 - 06:11 pm
6
0
Credit where due

I will have to give CM props about pushing the CBD as moving ahead. A few weeks ago we visited the Boar's Head and enjoyed it. Nice atmosphere and good food.

Last night we tried out the Whiskey Bar and Kitchen. Food quality was very good, and the atmosphere was very good too. We plan to go back soon. The most notable thing though was the restaurant was FULL. It wasn't stand in line and wait full, but empty tables were scarce. Very impressive for a Wednesday evening.

But again, the sidewalk between there and where we parked on the next block was littered with cigarette butts and unsightly black blobs of old gum or whatever. Had it been Sat or Sun morning I might have been more understanding because of the traffic from the night before, but this was clearly a buildup of more than one day. There could not be THAT many smokers there on Wednesday. These are the kinds of aesthetics that need to improve for downtown to become visually attractive again.

GnipGnop
12234
Points
GnipGnop 06/13/13 - 05:52 pm
4
0
Well a 59% high school graduation rate

Won't bode well on families wanting to move to an area with children....

Ray Marks
48
Points
Ray Marks 06/13/13 - 06:15 pm
6
1
Big Picture

Develop a concept for the entire downtown business district, then prioritize the projects, then we can talk about verandas or whatever. First project up o attract good people to downtown, tear the levee down!

It would literally bring a breath of fresh air to downtown Augusta, GA!

Clemintime
195
Points
Clemintime 06/13/13 - 06:23 pm
5
0
All for Progress, but.......

before Augusta takes on new $$$ projects, let's please make sure there is funding and resources available to maintain and safe gaurd the existing attractions we have in place. Also, with any new project being proposed, make the annual maintenance costs part of the all in estimate. "Does Riverwalk Strike a Familiar Note?"

countyman
20120
Points
countyman 06/13/13 - 07:13 pm
1
5
Have to make Augusta stand out

The city could do a better job at maintaining the Riverwalk, but its not bad. The Riverwalk wouldn't be able to attract the amount of people, events, etc unless it was beautiful. The Golf and Gardens belonged to the state of GA before they recently transferred the land to GRU. The property never became the proposed Golf Hall of Fame, but only a small botanical garden. TSplost includes the resurfacing of Riverwatch Pkwy from 15th street to the county line. Improvements to Rivewatch/Stevens Creek, Riverwatch/Furys Ferry, and between I/20-Riverwatch are included too. The improvements designated for Broad street in the TSpolst(Washington rd-13th) will take. Are of the sidewalks, cosmetics, and facade. Only Laney,Butler, Glenn Hills(barley below), and Josey have graduation rates at 59 percent, and the graduation rate grew by almost 5 percent this year. Davidson and AR Johnson are the two best high schools in the CSRA.

dichotomy
32932
Points
dichotomy 06/13/13 - 07:43 pm
5
0
What we DO NOT NEED is more

What we DO NOT NEED is more kooks dreaming up ways to spend money we do not have. There had better not be ONE of our commissioners that say "expanding bus service" and "VERANDA" in the same sentence. The TSPLOST money should BY GOD be spent on TRANSPORTATION.....primarily roads and road repair. Statues that play music......a drag strip that only he and his son-in-law wanted........as Andy Griffith said about Barney...."He's a NUT."

They've conned you gullible voters into taxing yourselves another 1% for TRANSPORTATION and now every nutcase politician and "progressive" is looking for ways to blow the money before it's even collected on stuff that has nothing to do with transportation.....just like "what me worry" Fred is doing by blowing the other pile of SPLOST money that not only has not been collected but ain't even been approved by the voters.

Wise up people. ALL THAT GLITTERS IS NOT GOLD. MOST OF IT IS JUST FOOL'S GOLD....and we've got plenty of them.

Gage Creed
17222
Points
Gage Creed 06/13/13 - 08:24 pm
1
0
Augusta Prep? Westminster?

Augusta Prep? Westminster? ....

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