Golf, buses, stadium on Augusta Commission agenda

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Issues that matter to Augusta residents -- public golf, public transit and a partially public stadium -- go before the Augusta Commission today for a vote.

The commission will weigh in on the direction that operations at Augusta Municipal Golf Course will take after learning of several options from Recreation, Parks and Facilities Director Tom Beck last week.

Beck, part of a subcommittee that recommended turning the course over to Affiniti Partners, the management firm that operates Forest Hills Golf Course, also presented the options that the course remain publicly run, in which it currently operates at a loss, or turned over to The Patch in Augusta LLC, the only qualified bidder to respond to a request for proposals the city issued last year.

Also today, City Administrator Fred Russell is expected to present a final contract with Mobility Transit, the firm the commission previously selected to take over operations at Augusta Public Transit. Mobility Transit has said it can effect a "startup" at the bus service in 45 days, but contract details are still being worked out. They will affect the future of about 70 city bus drivers and other workers, who will become Mobility Transit employees.

Commissioner Matt Aitken has a proposal on today's agenda authorizing Russell to "explore options" related to funding a multipurpose stadium, shopping and condominium complex desired by Cal Ripken to become the new home of the Augusta GreenJackets, which he owns.

The former Georgia Golf Hall of Fame property on the Savannah River levee at 15th Street had been eyed last year for the $38.7 million complex by developers, who also sought some sort of public financing or assistance in building it. The riverfront property, meanwhile, remains tied up as state officials say they're completing due diligence before auctioning it off.

Commissioners also will hear details on population shifts that likely will affect their re-election campaigns when district lines are redrawn based on the 2010 census. In 2000, a committee consisting of four school board members, four commissioners and four Augusta legislators undertook the process of redrawing the lines.

The prevalence of real-world issues marks a change for the commission, which has been arguing for months over details found in the city's new personnel manual, and how to go about removing a charter reference specifying the body must meet "at the courthouse." A new fix, proposed by Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles to simply rename the municipal building a courthouse "annex" also is expected to win approval today.

If You Go

Augusta Commission meeting

5 p.m., Lee Beard Commission Chamber

Eighth Floor, Augusta Municipal Building

530 Greene St.

Comments (34) Add comment
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tckr1983
365
Points
tckr1983 06/06/11 - 09:09 pm
0
0
If they make it through ALL

If they make it through ALL of this tomorrow... I'll be amazed.

corgimom
38321
Points
corgimom 06/06/11 - 09:15 pm
0
0
I wonder what would happen if

I wonder what would happen if the Commissioners put questions like these on the ballot:

Choose one:

Would you prefer that money be used to build a new baseball stadium?

Would you prefer that money be used to hire more police and fire employees?

Next question:

Would you prefer to live in a municipality that places its emphasis on infrastructure?

Would you prefer to live in a municipality that places its emphasis on what is "cool" and "vibrant" and that supports the arts?

Next question:

Should A-RC focus on educating its citizens, to provide a stable, well-educated work force to attract employers?

Should A-RC focus on tourism and a convention center instead, that provides primarily low-wage, part-time jobs filled primarily by people who are not well-educated?

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
Points
Crime Reports and Rewards TV 06/06/11 - 10:05 pm
0
0
Really hate to mention this

Really hate to mention this but, survey says the vote to MAKE the current commision location an annex may have to be taken somewhere IN the NEW COURTHOUSE, otherwise all votes afterward may not be valid because the charter says in so many words THEY MUST VOTE IN THE COURTHOUSE, even if only to VOTE to ANNEX the commission chamber into the "courthouse".

Clux99
0
Points
Clux99 06/06/11 - 10:07 pm
0
0
Let's start taking bets on

Let's start taking bets on how long tomorrow's meeting is gonna last...

WoodyKaminer
2
Points
WoodyKaminer 06/06/11 - 10:37 pm
0
0
READ THE FOLLOWING:

READ THE FOLLOWING:

WoodyKaminer
2
Points
WoodyKaminer 06/06/11 - 10:35 pm
0
0
Nothing will get done. 4 will

Nothing will get done. 4 will vote yes, 4 will vote no, 1 will abstain, and 1 will be a No-Show. Same ol dookie, different Tuesday.

countyman
21630
Points
countyman 06/06/11 - 10:47 pm
0
0
It's great to hear people are

It's great to hear people are recognizing the progress Augusta is making.. Major developers Cal Ripken and Jim Jacoby wanting to invest millions into downtown Augusta pretty much says it all..

DuhJudge
206
Points
DuhJudge 06/06/11 - 11:05 pm
0
0
Come on guys.....will of the

Come on guys.....will of the people. A building name, and three money pits.

Brad Owens
4906
Points
Brad Owens 06/07/11 - 03:59 am
0
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countryman, They want to

countryman,

They want to invest TWO million in a 40 million dollar project. Thanks for the 5% you offered, but no thanks. A regular commercial loan requires 20% down by the person buying the building.

I want my commissioner to vote NO, on the stadium item. We do not need to spend ONE RED CENT working on this project.

They got the TEE at $100,000,000.00 and that is enough.

Brad

Riverman1
93509
Points
Riverman1 06/07/11 - 04:22 am
0
0
Aitken's motion equals King's

Aitken's motion equals King's pawn to e-4 opening move. If anyone doubts Aitken was a pawn see the factory worker do as he is told.

By the way, Barry White is now saying the TEE will be having local events the first year instead of conventions and shows. Know why? BECAUSE THERE ARE NO SHOWS COMING. They will be taking business from local existing venues. Don't forget, the Chronicle is implicated in the TEE $100 million scam. They get a couple of hundred thousand a year from now on for keeping the key or some such thing.

Craig Spinks
818
Points
Craig Spinks 06/07/11 - 06:23 am
0
0
Which local newspaper owner

Which local newspaper owner owns the hotel contiguous to the rising TEE Center?

jleyes
24
Points
jleyes 06/07/11 - 07:36 am
0
0
Go Greenjackets

Go Greenjackets

countyman
21630
Points
countyman 06/07/11 - 11:33 am
0
0
Brad.... Where are you

Brad.... Where are you getting the $2 million figure from??

countyman
21630
Points
countyman 06/07/11 - 11:44 am
0
0
The TEE Center landed the

The TEE Center landed the first event four months after breaking ground... The event will have a $500k impact on Augusta. The Augusta Marriott Hotel & Convention Center opens in spring of 2012..

I don't know why people continue to bring up the TEE Center.. The city must build the spolst projects voters approve ..

countyman
21630
Points
countyman 06/07/11 - 12:56 pm
0
0
Are you saying the city

Are you saying the city doesn't have to build approved splost projects??

Last time I checked Jim Jacoby is also behind the mix-use entertainment facility downtown... The $2 million figure doesn't include the retail, residential, and hotel portion.. Taxpayers won't be affected due to the bonds and use of the tax allocation district..

Talk about spin?? The TEE center doesn't cost anywhere near $100 million... The parking deck and the Laney Walker/Bethlehem construction increases the value to $100 million.. Tourist and visitors are paying for the Laney Walker/Bethlehem redevelopment and not local taxpayers..

Without the TEE center:
1. No Hyatt hotel, 3 story office building, 125 space parking ground.
2. Laney Walker and Bethlehem don't become hotspots for people working in the Medical District.
3. The old cotton warehouse on Reynolds would still be vacant..
4. There's no parking garage with 1st level commercial/retail space..

This is only the construction directly related to the Augusta Marriott Hotel & Convention..

Brad Owens
4906
Points
Brad Owens 06/07/11 - 01:00 pm
0
0
Here is a link to the

Here is a link to the committee in charge of looking at baseball downtown..

http://www.bringbaseballdowntown.com/dsec.asp

Brad Owens
4906
Points
Brad Owens 06/07/11 - 01:15 pm
0
0
Countryman sez... "Without

Countryman sez...

"Without the TEE center:
1. No Hyatt hotel, 3 story office building, 125 space parking ground.
2. Laney Walker and Bethlehem don't become hotspots for people working in the Medical District.
3. The old cotton warehouse on Reynolds would still be vacant..
4. There's no parking garage with 1st level commercial/retail space..."

Allow me to take them one by one..

1.) Even with TEE we have no Hyatt as promised. In fact, you all made it sound like shovels were ready to break ground and they really were not. You all said that if TEE was not voted on right away, that the Hyatt was toast. Now we see that was all hot air to force a vote.

2.) Laney Walker and Bethlehem will NEVER be a "hot spot" for medical students. More wishful thinking not grounded in any sort of reality.

3.) The old cotton warehouse could have sat empty for another 50 years and it would not spell disaster for downtown. Also, this only helped the owner, not the entire city.

4.) We could have built the parking garage without TEE and it would have been $84,000,000.00 cheaper.

Now, let me tell you something, the total cost to get TEE passed is right at $100,000,000.00 and there is no way you can deny it. That is the cost of the tax payer for the TEE Center. No two way around it.

Also, there are SPLOST monies reallocated all the time so don't tell me we HAVE to spend that money. We can reallocate it to any project that is bricks and mortar.

I have been in MANY metteings where it was done, hell they even took 3million for downtown streetscape and spent it on the courthouse.

You really don't know what you are talking about here cman,

Brad

TrulyWorried
16487
Points
TrulyWorried 06/07/11 - 02:12 pm
0
0
I recall, not too long ago -

I recall, not too long ago - what excitement the building of the 'pink elephant' aka Riverfront Condo brought. Upscale stores - lots of business downtown - - - flop - next? Discovery Center - - - where is it now - flop - what is in the building now, except the outrageously priced condos? Empty space.
Now some more of the same is being built - how much will the taxpayer have to fork over this time, without being consulted (they could have really helped a lot with input on the parking lot at the new Courthouse).
There is no concrete plan, nothing that will last (see the jail falling apart) and Augusta/RC will continue to be a joke - a huge joke!!! And I am very sorry to have to say that.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 06/07/11 - 02:49 pm
0
0
The TEE Center was a scam,

The TEE Center was a scam, pure and simple. How does a $20 million SPLOST project get turned into a $110 million project without consulting the voters? I am so sick and tired of this song and dance from people like CM that "it was approved by voters, so it had to be built" wrong. Voters never approved this boondoggle.. they never approved the $50 million vote buying scheme money either.. they never said yes to a parking deck. $20 million to expand the convention center.. that was it. When this thing started getting out of control in terms of costs, it should have went back before the voters. TEE was the classic bait and switch scam.

countyman
21630
Points
countyman 06/07/11 - 03:02 pm
0
0
The Riverplace was

The Riverplace was constructed in 1990 and its the year 2011.. Those high price condos must be okay because several people live in them.. The condos also add to the real estate value of downtown.. Cafe 209 and Mi Rancho opened a restaurant near the Riverwalk.. I'm sure the disposable income next door helped the situation..

I don't ever remember Jim Jocaby and Cal Ripken being apart of the Riverplace development..

Fort Discovery moving to DC from Augusta had nothing do with our city.. The discovery center still hasn't found a home yet in DC either.. The Fort Discovery building in Augusta will be purchased in the near future..

The parking situation at the Judicial Center is extremely overexaggerated... I live downtown and have NEVER seen the entire parking lot full one time.. Some people just don't want to walk anywhere in Augusta.. Either way the city is building 200 more spaces and looking at a new parking deck in the area..

countyman
21630
Points
countyman 06/07/11 - 03:03 pm
0
0
I remember years ago people

I remember years ago people said Olde Town wouldn't beome a hostpot for people working in the Medical District.. Now most of the medical students in Augusta live downtown, Olde Town, or around Summerville. I bet the Laney Walker area sees a substantial increase in the amount of young professionals living there..

The Hyatt, office building, and parking garage are coming sooner or later..

The 6 story parking deck underway on Reynolds street feature commercial and retail space on the 1st floor..

The cotton warehouse incorporated into the design of the TEE is much better than a vacant warehouse taking up space downtown..

Why would voters have to approve the 1 per night hotel tax paying for the $50 million going into Laney Walker/Bethlehem.. The money spent in Laney Walker is NOT coming from taxpayers..

Sweet son
11585
Points
Sweet son 06/07/11 - 03:26 pm
0
0
Lockett and the "three

Lockett and the "three amigos" will stop anything that might be called progressive!! These non decisions will be made in an illegal "dwelling place" which is where our defunct commission should be!

TrulyWorried
16487
Points
TrulyWorried 06/07/11 - 03:44 pm
0
0
Thank goodness - Augusta/RC

Thank goodness - Augusta/RC has one thing and that is "countyman" - may all of his reports become reality and remain for many years to come. Wish all of us could share your optimism, countyman - we sure need it!! And let us hope you are right!!

Riverman1
93509
Points
Riverman1 06/07/11 - 04:33 pm
0
0
Let's all tell the truth now,

Let's all tell the truth now, please. Again, there are NO BOOKINGS FOR THE TEE CENTER except one a year and a half after the opening. That event had been here before using existing facilities and an Augustan is in charge of choosing the site for the meeting this year. That's why no hotel is being built. No one would be coming from out of town to book rooms.

From a story on WFXG, Barry White, Director of the CVB, is now saying they are going after local events to book for the TEE. Don't you understand that means no events are coming here? Local events only takes business from existing venues. It brings no outside money into the area.

From the 2010 Convention and Visitors Bureau Annual report:

Conventions and meetings booked between 2009 and 2010 went down from 108,000 attendees to 56,232 people. Rooms booked dropped from 60,901 to 35,765, and groups booked went from 250 to 112.

Bookings represent future business.

Attendees decreased from 130,669 to 113,935. Room nights booked decreased from 82,180 to 64,915. Groups booked decreased from 260 to 257.

We will have the motels out in the county paying for the boondoggel TEE and Laney Walker rejuvenation for 50 years. Does that even remotely seem fair?

Riverman1
93509
Points
Riverman1 06/07/11 - 04:37 pm
0
0
Countyman, you are talking

Countyman, you are talking about medical students moving into the Laney Walker area. With Richmond County now only 40% white, do you think this could increase the whites in the county? Do you know of any whites living in the Laney Walker area now? I thought it was completely a black neighborhood now. If so, wouldn't it be hard to bring whites into the area?

knighttime
1
Points
knighttime 06/07/11 - 05:38 pm
0
0
I am laughing at the

I am laughing at the ignorance. city is broke. county is broke. state is broke. country is broke. yet we need to build a new stadium that will produce "income." the old stadium is gorgeous and sufficient. Please tell me what has been built downtown that has produce "income". civic center has lost how many thousand of dollars last year? this is laughable.... when are people gonna get tired of politicians who are pawns stealing there money...

knighttime
1
Points
knighttime 06/07/11 - 05:42 pm
0
0
county man said..... "Why

county man said..... "Why would voters have to approve the 1 per night hotel tax paying for the $50 million going into Laney Walker/Bethlehem.. The money spent in Laney Walker is NOT coming from taxpayers"

This statement should shed light on the intellect of countyman.
who is the money coming from... is it obama money.. it is coming from tax payers.....

countyman
21630
Points
countyman 06/07/11 - 07:09 pm
0
0
Diffrent people said the

Diffrent people said the Village at Riverwatch was dead in the water.. The national economy is delaying the construction of the Hyatt hotel..

People never mentioned how the conference coming to Augusta in September 2013.. The event didn't come to Augusta in 2009 or 2010 because it grew in size.. The meeting space in Augusta couldn't accomodate the event anymore..

Riverman... Can you provide the link? It seems you're using the stats of local events who will occur in the future?

2009 had 130k attendees and not 108k..

2009 had 82k room nights and not 60k..

2009 had 60 groups and not 250..

In spite of the economic challenges of 2009, overnight visitors to Augusta spent at a record high. Total hotel revenue and related sales and lodging tax collections for the city increased nearly 3% over 2008, which was also a record year. With each overnight hotel stay, visitors pay a 6% lodging tax and a 7% sales tax for a hotel room.

Total hotel revenue in Augusta is estimated at $60 million for 2009, and area hotels contributed more than $9.4 million annually in local taxes and fees to the City of Augusta.

The more than 1.5 million visitors to Augusta spend nearly $386 million annually. They contribute almost $14 million in state taxes and more than 11.5 Million in local taxes according to reports by the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 06/07/11 - 07:10 pm
0
0
I'm thinking we could get Dr.
Unpublished

I'm thinking we could get Dr. COOL involved.....and have a Conway Twitty look-a-like convention at the TEE. Surely all the COOL people would be there.

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