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Augusta submits proposal for $5 million Bloomberg grant

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The city recently spent $19,000 on a chance to win a $5 million grant for redevelopment efforts in the Laney-Walker and Bethlehem neigh­borhoods.

Augusta is one of 394 cities competing for money from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge – a competition that looks for innovative ideas for improving city life.

Augusta’s submission focuses on using skilled trade workers to help in the Laney-Walker and Bethlehem revitalization.

In 2008, the city began a massive neighborhood initiative in the neighborhoods to replace blight with development. A special 50-year hotel/motel tax that generates $750,000 annually funds the $38.5 million public investment.

On Sept. 4, the Augusta Commission approved spending $19,000 to research, write and submit the grant proposal. A Savannah, Ga.-based strategic marketing team for the project – Melaver-McIntosh – was hired to complete the application.

In addition to a $5 million grand prize, four $1 million prizes will be awarded. Twenty finalists will be selected this fall, and the winners will be announced in the spring.

Mayor Deke Copenhaver said the money won’t go directly toward building houses.

“How can we deploy community resources we already have to help rebuild the neighborhood and help take ownership of the neighborhood?” Copenhaver said.

He said money spent on writing the submission was a wise investment even if the city does not win a prize. The Laney-Walker project, which has already received other national awards and grants, is better poised to apply for additional grants because of work on the Bloomberg submission, he said.

“It took a whole lot of time and effort to get to the submission point,” the mayor said.

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Riverman1
90637
Points
Riverman1 09/18/12 - 10:00 pm
1
2
If you are really going to

If you are really going to throw money at the urban area, the reality is if money had been spent rejuvenating Broad St. and providing increased police protection, the ripple effect would have taken care of Laney Walker. Creating a successful city with thriving private enterprise in your core business area should be the goal.

countyman
21299
Points
countyman 09/18/12 - 10:53 pm
2
2
The city should open a

The city should open a substation on Broad street, but we don't really need anymore city related buildings along Broad unless it's the technology facility.. They should focus on creating additional free weekly events at the common, riverwalk, and 8th street plaza.. Private construction is currently thriving on Broad street, and throughout the CBD... Underway projects: Whiskey Bar Kitchen(restaurant) at 1048 Broad, Farmhaus Burger/7 apts/restaurant at 1204 Broad St, Boar's Head Public House(restaurant) at 1135 Broad, Sprint Food & Metro Market at 851 Broad next to the common(open air seating, 1st floor urban market: restaurant/convenience store, and 2nd floor Sprint Food corporate offices and space for other tenants), 9 apts & 4,300 sq. ft. of commercial space at 901 Broad, 920 Greene street= 6 apts, etc... Completed projects: JB Whites = 34 new condos(51 total), 834 Greene new residential, 967 Broad= 4 apts, Johnson building= 13 apts, 1120 Jones street= 8 apts, 220-222 6th street new residential, 566 Broad Cafe 209/residential, Bath Fitters at 1255 Broad, etc

Olde Town/Hill/Midtown would have always been chosen before Laney Walker, and even Harrisburg to an lesser rxtent... The chances are much greater of Broad street attracting private construction compared to the Laney Walker and Bethlehem neighborhoods..

my.voice
5092
Points
my.voice 09/19/12 - 06:11 am
2
1
Building free houses isn't

Building free houses isn't going to "create" anything except a rejuvenated blight area, which will end up blighted again. Rejuvenate your commercial core and the residential will happen on its own. Hasn't section 8 taught us anything?

Of course this is where the politics is at, right Betty?

And another 19 grand spent (flushed) outside our fair city. Do you mean to tell me there are no firms capable of writngnangrant application in the second largest metro are in the state of Georgia?

Bulldog
1333
Points
Bulldog 09/19/12 - 07:24 am
3
1
I am constantly amazed.

I continue to be amazed at the lack of ideas from our elected officials and the ignorance of our county employees. Very little seems to be coming from the mayors office. Every project that comes along seems to be "farmed out"...
The single biggest issue in Richmond County is crime. Attack that using a united front and instituting sweeping community policing reforms and the tax base will begin to rematerialize like magic. Continue to ignore crime and we will continue to see the flight of the middle class and eventually the upper as well. They can't seem to build housing fast enough in Columbia County...

Little Lamb
47980
Points
Little Lamb 09/19/12 - 07:58 am
1
3
Contingency

There are firms out there who write grant proposals on contingency. If the grant is awarded, the grant writing firm gets a percentage. If the grant is not awarded, the grant writing firm gets nothing. The city ought to use that system in the future.

Little Lamb
47980
Points
Little Lamb 09/19/12 - 08:03 am
1
3
Preposterous

Countyman posted:

The city should open a substation on Broad street.

Ridiculous. The Law Enforcement Center, crawling with cops, is located on Walton Way, a mere five blocks from Broad Street. Substations are intended to provide police presence in areas far away from the main mustering points (Walton Way, Daniel Village, and Southgate Plaza are the mustering points.)

seenitB4
93730
Points
seenitB4 09/19/12 - 09:31 am
2
2
Unbelievable

If you keep putting lipstick on a pig you will still have a pig.....geeez ...I see why some in the outskirts are so disgusted.

countyman
21299
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countyman 09/19/12 - 12:07 pm
3
0
The houses aren't free, and

The new houses aren't free, and multiple homes have been sold... The developments have added over $3 million to the local tax base in the county... Young people want to live in the urban area, and not stuck in the suburbs... This revitalization makes perfect sense because Laney Walker is located between the Medical Districct, and CBD...

The poster Bulldog just posted the same exact comment on three different articles including this one... Where is this middle class flight in Richmond County? Do you really want to me list all of the new commercial developments? New restaurants, shopping, etc are the result of increased population.... What places in Columbia County have less crime than West Augusta, Summerville, Southwest Augusta, Forest Hills, etc?? Have you seen the real estate prices in Grovetown compared to West Augusta?

Little Lamb... This is an urban environment, and 401 will soon be demolished... Nobody expects for multiple cops to frequently walk/bike from the new sheriffs office on Walton Way into the CBD daily...

How is fixing up Laney Walker anymore of putting lipstick on an pig compared to cleaning up parts of South Augusta? I can't think of any large employers in South Augusta located next to residential areas who can attract new demographics...

countyman
21299
Points
countyman 09/19/12 - 12:08 pm
1
1
People are either forgetting

People are either forgetting or don't know about the city receiving $15k dollars in grant money from the American Institute of Art... The city of Augusta was only one of seven cities across the nation selected... It's interesting how the Laney Walker development has won several national/statewide recognition's, but certain people(mainly non RC residents) continue to downgrade the progress...

It's not an coincidence private developers, local churches, banks, etc are now getting involved.... The proximity of Laney Walker to the CBD/Medical District can't be discounted... A private developer is renovating the former orphanage at 1220 12th street into student or senior housing...

bdouglas
5588
Points
bdouglas 09/20/12 - 08:12 am
1
1
But I thought crime wasn't an

But I thought crime wasn't an issue on Broad and the CBD in general? Why would you need a police substation if that's the case........?

corgimom
36750
Points
corgimom 09/21/12 - 04:52 pm
0
1
bdouglas, my thoughts

bdouglas, my thoughts EXACTLY!!!

And WHY would you need a substation on Broad St when 401 is just a few blocks away? What an unnecessary duplication of services!

And I don't forget for one moment about those "government grants" that are paid for by MY TAX DOLLARS. They AREN"T FREE!!!

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