4 noteworthy speakers to address Augusta Commission

Four speakers connected to significant Augusta issues are signed up to address the Augusta Commission at its Tuesday regular meeting.

Barry White, the president of the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau, is on the agenda to discuss a “pre-opening marketing plan” for the downtown Trade, Exhibit and Event Center.

White and bureau Vice President Peggy Seigler recently outlined a $350,000 plan for marketing the TEE Center before its opening later this year, including reaching out to organizations that have outgrown Augusta’s existing meeting spaces.

Margaret Woodard, the director of the Downtown Development Authority, is on the agenda at the request of Commissioner Matt Aitken to discuss the authority’s planned activities during 2012.

Both entities rely on annual city supplements to fund their operations.

Following will be a joint presentation from Augusta State University President William A. Bloodworth Jr. and Georgia Health Sciences University President Ricardo Azziz. The two universities were recently slated to merge by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents.

According to an agenda attachment, Bloodworth will discuss college completion in Georgia and Augusta State’s access mission; Azziz will describe Gov. Nathan Deal’s vision for GHSU and the state of health professions education in Georgia; and together the two will discuss consolidation plans.

After the speakers, the commission is scheduled to vote on 45 individual agenda items, including:

• A rezoning application by consultant APD Urban Planning & Management on behalf of the Augusta Land Bank Authority to rezone lots on Kingston, 11th and Spruce streets;

• A change order connected to improved ventilation at the TEE Center that increases the project’s total price to $30.1 million;

• Demolition of 11 structures deemed unsafe and uninhabitable in commission districts 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6;

• Approving City Administrator Fred Russell’s recommendation of $110,000 as the salary for new Fire Chief Chris James;

• Approving a draft ordinance limiting smoking in public places; and

• Rescinding at the request of the city of Hephzibah a prior resolution to provide water and sewer services to Redfield Property Development.

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