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Commission approves relocation, compensation for Hyde Park residents

Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011 10:57 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011 4:04 AM
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After years of attempts to devise fixes for the beleaguered Hyde Park neighborhood, a plan to relocate and compensate residents won Augusta Commission approval Tuesday.

A measure to reallocate about $2.3 million in sales-tax funds to pay for the design and initial phases of land acquisition to build a massive detention pond at the site passed 6-3-1.

Commissioners Jerry Brigham, Joe Jackson and Wayne Guilfoyle opposed the measure. Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles abstained, saying his family owns property in the area.

Jackson and Guilfoyle cited concerns expressed by property owners who don’t want to move, Brigham questioned the availability of funds to complete the entire project, which Engineering Director Abie Ladson said will cost $18.2 million.

Most of about 26 Hyde Park residents or homeowners who attended the meeting cheered, but a couple opposed the plan. Elizabeth Moore, whose parents lived in Hyde Park from 1950 until they died, questioned whether nonresident homeowners would be adequately compensated.

“It’s immoral for the government to take family land in this manner,” she told the commission. “I am in disagreement with the sale, due to the un­fair compensation for all landowners.”

After the meeting, Moore continued to question the city’s intent, saying flooding was rare in most areas of Hyde Park, and children continue to be educated and play at a Head Start center at the site despite concerns about contamination.

“I just find it strange that you’re going to flood 44 acres near two rail lines and the airport,” Moore said.

Ladson said construction of a detention pond at the site will alleviate flooding in nearby Wilkinson Gardens and other neighborhoods.

Relocation will be handled by the city’s Housing and Community Development Department. Director Chester Wheeler said resident homeowners without liens on their property will be provided homes of the same size or smaller, if they desire to downsize. Renters will be provided residences at the same rent, he said.

Nonresident homeowners will be paid fair market value based on two appraisals, Wheeler said.

The area has seen plummeting land value since the 1990s, when a nearby factory was the subject of a $46 million cleanup. Later, elevated contaminants in the soil and groundwater were traced to a nearby junkyard, which was the subject of a $10 million Superfund cleanup.

Comments (19) Add comment
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willie7
1047
Points
willie7 10/18/11 - 10:30 pm
0
0
Praise God!!! Corey, good
Unpublished

Praise God!!!
Corey, good work for pushing this issue.

AutumnLeaves
10441
Points
AutumnLeaves 10/18/11 - 10:55 pm
0
0
Finally! My father and others

Finally! My father and others were trying to help this area back in the late 60's!!!

catawba7
319
Points
catawba7 10/18/11 - 10:55 pm
0
0
He pushed so hard until he

He pushed so hard until he ran over a lot of people who voted him into office. Let' see how hard we push for him not to get another vote to put him in office in Augusta government again once he hits the bricks.

corgimom
38787
Points
corgimom 10/19/11 - 03:46 am
0
0
This is 20 years overdue. I

This is 20 years overdue. I can still remember watching the news story on TV where they filmed the drainage ditches filled with fluorescent green chemicals- and children playing in them.

Finally!

Brad Owens
4922
Points
Brad Owens 10/19/11 - 05:40 am
0
0
Waaaaay overdue. Thank God

Waaaaay overdue. Thank God they have done this, now my question is why haven't the folks who are 100% the cause of this made to pay?

Ask the local lawyers who settled the cases for "big money" back when it happened.

Brad

david jennings
625
Points
david jennings 10/19/11 - 07:12 am
0
0
That was my question

That was my question yesterday brad.

bdouglas
5782
Points
bdouglas 10/19/11 - 07:29 am
0
0
"Nonresident homeowners will

"Nonresident homeowners will be paid fair market value based on two appraisals, Wheeler said."

By two objective third parties who don't work for the city, right...?

Brad Owens
4922
Points
Brad Owens 10/19/11 - 07:40 am
0
0
They should be paid what the

They should be paid what the "fair market value" WAS before the poison was put down, and it should be adjusted for the current dollar value.

allhans
24988
Points
allhans 10/19/11 - 08:35 am
0
0
Didn't the owners pay out big

Didn't the owners pay out big money, go broke and and file for bankruptcy.
I seem to recall something of that nature.

TK3
562
Points
TK3 10/19/11 - 08:44 am
0
0
Wonder WHO, not mentioned,

Wonder WHO, not mentioned, down the line will actually benefit from your tax dollars spent on all the land, homes and retention pond ?

Brad Owens
4922
Points
Brad Owens 10/19/11 - 09:13 am
0
0
allhans, No it wasn't quite

allhans,

No it wasn't quite like that.

Brad

catawba7
319
Points
catawba7 10/19/11 - 11:04 am
0
0
My question, why was 46 mil

My question, why was 46 mil and then 10 mil spent on cleanups? They could have relocated people and followed their health for years with the monies spent.

People want to move, but all of them should be paid fairly for their property. Landowners who have moved on will get peanuts and that is unfair because they to went through the storm.

As far as "fair appraisals", what is fair in government?

Most people posting don't live in Hyde Park and those who do and question this legislation remains silent. So, if you don't speak up you lose. God Help Us All...in Augusta.

AutumnLeaves
10441
Points
AutumnLeaves 10/19/11 - 11:40 am
0
0
Why have people continued to

Why have people continued to move INTO that area; that's peculiar and suspicious.

mooreent
0
Points
mooreent 10/19/11 - 12:38 pm
0
0
It is not that people are

It is not that people are against the plan. Devaluing property to almost zero and swooping down to take it is unfair. What is considered nothing to others is home to others. I hope that this project is sincere and the city does not decide to redevelop it in another way. We shall see.

mooreent
0
Points
mooreent 10/19/11 - 12:44 pm
0
0
As for the chemical problem,

As for the chemical problem, the Hyde Park residents were told over and again that there was no contamination. However, wherever I turn I hear the words chemicals and contamination. If contaminated, why was no one moved sooner. Owner's and residents can be moved for the city's convenience but not the health and safety of the residents themselves.

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 10/19/11 - 01:27 pm
0
0
i agree, brad. they should
Unpublished

i agree, brad. they should of course be paid the value of their property before the contamination adjusted forr inflation. rich people would. it's time to take lessons for the smart rich people.

Little Lamb
49260
Points
Little Lamb 10/19/11 - 04:05 pm
0
0
Brad Owens wrote: Now my

Brad Owens wrote:

Now my question is why haven't the folks who are 100% the cause of this made to pay?

The last sentence of Susan McCord's article is not true (that is if she is using the term "the soil" to refer to Hyde Park soil). There is no "tracing" to be done. The Goldberg Brothers salvage business did not cause contamination of Hyde Park soil. And it is my understanding that the Goldberg brothers did declare bankruptcy, which led to taxpayers (via EPA's Superfund) to clean up the former Goldberg property. Of course "clean up" is a funny word to use when you are talking dirt.

On the south side of Hyde Park was the Southern Wood Piedmont company. They worked with Ga. EPD and "cleaned up" their soil, too. And they are monitoring groundwater via a routine well water sampling program.

This owner and resident bail out by way of a massive retention pond project is the cowardly way the city government has chosen to get complaining residents out of their hair (temporarily, of course). They will soon find something else to complain about.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 10/19/11 - 04:47 pm
0
0
Knowing Johnson...he is just
Unpublished

Knowing Johnson...he is just riding on the efforts of previous dist. 2 commissioners.

catawba7
319
Points
catawba7 10/20/11 - 05:16 pm
0
0
Residents who wished to keep

Residents who wished to keep their homes have asked the city for years to aid in cleaning up Hyde Park. Residents asked for vacant lots to be cleared and for a better drainage system and were ignored. For Hyde Park residents who wanted to improve their homes, they were denied permits for construction. All of this was a deliberate attempt to make the neighborhood go down because they had a bigger plan to take the land. Residents who live on the streets closer to the old Goldberg site suffered the most and as older residents died the houses were abandoned and the city got the land for non payment of taxes and did nothing to keep up the land and maintain their vacant lots in the neighborhood. Most of the abandoned homes and overgrown lots belong to the city of Augusta. Now, all of you will have to pay through another 1 cent SPLOST tax to relocate people who begged for help for years and were ignored. Corey Johnson wants back in office in some form of govenment after 2014 and this is his stepping stone to better things for himself. There are six streets in Hyde Park with familes, drive through and you will see well kept homes and when you see those abandoned and run down homes and overgrown lots look to your city government they are the OWNERS. They are the ones to blame for the condition of Hyde Park. Goldberg destroyed the land and then the city destroyed a neighborhood and peoples lives by not enforcing the laws. Now, that they are on their way to owning Hyde Park, they have prisoners out there cleaning etc., the first time in years. Quoting one of the residents Ms. Nora Roberts it is "Highway Robbery Without A Pistol". Shame on you Augusta Richmond County Commission and Corey Johnson someone is watching you who neither slumbers or sleeps. Clara E. Jenkins Head Start program is in Hyde Park. If the land is so contaminated why are children bused to this program and allowed to run and play outside? I say, YES, it is contaminated and they don't care about poor children. I hope some of their parents hold the city of Augusta accountable in case these children become ill in the future.

Little Lamb
49260
Points
Little Lamb 10/21/11 - 12:50 pm
0
0
Thank you for posting,

Thank you for posting, Catawba, and I agree with you. There was a "Charette" done for this area (a master planning scenario done though UGA) that proposed a modest, workable plan to rehabilitate Hyde Park as a residential neighborhood. This retention pond idea is a slap in the face to the people who worked hard on the plan and an even sharper slap in the face to people who live and take care of their homes (owner or renter) in Hyde Park.

This retention pond is intended to fully drain, thus it will be dry in normal weather. But there will appear low spots after a while that will hold standing water. The litter will build up and make bigger wet spots. It will be a 22-acre mess, not attractive at all. I expect they'll want to put up a chain link fence around it to make the sides harder to mow. Weeds, puddles, mosquitoes, litter. What a bargain for the taxpayer and what a loss to residents who love their neighborhood.

Let's remember this post when Corey Johnson is rewarded with a cushy city job and thank Catawba for warning us.

melissachecker
0
Points
melissachecker 10/24/11 - 09:16 am
0
0
Just to correct something, no

Just to correct something, no part of Hyde Park was ever designated as a Superfund site (despite the Chronicles' consistent reports to the contrary). If they had been Superfund, then the EPA would be pursuing the polluter and trying to get reimbursed for that cleanup.
And Brad, if you get this, I got your phone msg but not your email -- please re-email me! Thx!

Little Lamb
49260
Points
Little Lamb 10/24/11 - 03:36 pm
0
0
Thank you, Melissa. The last

Thank you, Melissa. The last sentence of Susan McCord's story up above is misleading if not inaccurate. There has been no scientific paper published in a reputable science journal that "traces" lead in Hyde Park soil to the Goldberg Salvage yard. You cannot "trace" lead. Every lead atom is chemically the same as every other lead atom. Lead is ubiquitous in our environment—it is everywhere.

This buyout of Hyde Park property owners and renters is a classic shakedown, and it is wrong.

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