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Pedestrian bridge issue returns to Augusta Commission

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The Augusta Commission on Tuesday will reconsider a motion to fund a pedestrian bridge across Reynolds Street.

The bridge, which was a vote short of passage in Decem­­ber, met a critical audience last week when a commission committee declined to endorse it, citing a lack of necessity.

The enclosed bridge would join the Augusta Con­ven­tion Center and its new parking deck. It is a final detail sought by Augusta River­front LLC, which operates the convention center, deck and nearby Marriott hotel.

Augusta Riverfront Presi­dent Paul Simon, who is scheduled to address the commission at a 5 p.m. meeting, said the bridge will ensure that convention attendees cross Reynolds Street safely.

Sales tax funding exists for the project, but its price tag is between $891,561 and $991,561, depending on whether a lighted marquee sign is included.

Commissioner Wayne Guil­foyle, who seconded a motion in August to allow the bridge, said its inclusion was a concession the city made while negotiating a better and shorter management agreement with Au­gusta River­front on the parking garage.

Guilfoyle said that if the commission doesn’t support funding the bridge, he’d like to see the money spent on repairing broken infrastructure downtown.

Mayor Pro Tem Corey Johnson, who last week expressed uncertainty about the project, won’t be present for today’s vote. Johnson, sustainability manager John Paul Stout and traffic engineer Steve Cassell are attending a Sustainable Com­munities Leadership Aca­demy in New Orleans, City Administrator Fred Russell said.

Their attendance is a requirement of the city’s 2010 receipt of a $1.8 million federal grant to assist redevelopment of the “priority corridor” in Augusta’s newest master plan, Russell said.

Other items on today’s agenda are:

• Adoption of a new procedure to streamline approval of Housing and Community Development contracts by requiring only the mayor, city administrator and HCD director to sign

• Authorizing the law department to update bylaws for a HCD citizens’ advisory committee

• Authorizing Guilfoyle, who heads the finance committee, to re-establish a subcommittee to study reforming the city tax code.

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Little Lamb
44796
Points
Little Lamb 01/15/13 - 08:59 am
3
0
Five Minutes of Fame

Let Simon speak (again!) his five minutes, but it looks like the tally is unlikely to get six votes one way or the other today.

The citizens and the commission (and especially What me worry Russell) need to understand that failure to pass a motion is indeed a decision. It is a decision for no action, no change to the status quo, and in this case the status quo is the correct stance.

The crosswalk at the parking deck has been completely re-done, with modern lights, crosswalk symbols, push buttons to cross, a voice from the sky telling you when to walk and when not to walk, little ramps for wheelchairs (with those crazy bumps). A child could cross safely there.

The DOT has said that a lighted sign on the bridge will be a traffic hazard. Do we dare believe them? If they put up the sign and a car runs the red light there and runs over a common citizen, a non-convention-goer, will Paul Simon care?

I hope Wayne Guilfoyle will vote to spend the money on broken infrastructure instead of this monument to Simon.

rebellious
20482
Points
rebellious 01/15/13 - 09:08 am
7
0
Augusta

Has met almost every demand by Riverfront LLC on this debacle. They seem to hold some Svenghali spell over the commission. Hint: Don't follow the pocket watch as it swings slowly and the soft voice of Paul Simon says "you will obey my every command and remember nothing when I snap my fingers"

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 01/15/13 - 09:15 am
2
0
Go Underground Just burrow a

Go Underground

Just burrow a little tunnel and connect the two structures and the issue with a Marquee being a hazard is removed. Money-wise, I don't know which would cost more to build. Just .02

Little Lamb
44796
Points
Little Lamb 01/15/13 - 10:42 am
5
2
Imagine

Let's say they put those big 12-foot by 8-foot lighted electronic signs (one on each side) on the pedestrian bridge. Now imagine you are driving west on Reynolds and the big advertising sign changes to an advertisement saying, “Watch the Masters® on WRDW, Channel 12!” What color do you suppose the background of the sign is? That's right, green! Subconciously, your mind is seeing and thinking green, so you run the red light and strike a non-convention-going pedestrian who is obeying the crossing signal.

Likewise, think about coming from the other direction. You are travelling east on Reynolds and the big electronic sign changes and says, “Drink Coca-Cola®!” What color is the background? That's right, red! You slam on the brakes in the middle of the block and get rear-ended.

Not only do we not need no stinkin’ pedestrian bridge, we sure as heck don’t need no stinkin’ flashing electronic sign above the street to distract motorists. If the city government wants to get into the advertising business, just go put up some billboards around town. It's ridiculous.

catawba7
319
Points
catawba7 01/15/13 - 10:44 am
4
0
Mayor Pro Tem Corey Johnson, won't be present for today's vote

Mayor Pro Tem Corey Johnson, who last week expressed uncertainty about the project, won’t be present for today’s vote, how convenient. This do-nothing commission can pass anything they want or fail to pass things they don't want, it has nothing to do with the people who voted them into office...sorry!

Riverman1
81245
Points
Riverman1 01/15/13 - 11:11 am
4
1
Few Days It Will Be Utilized

The original opening date for the TEE was almost a year ago. It wasn't finished on time because there's no need due to lack of events scheduled. Now there are 12 events, including the tattoo festival, over the next two years. If the pedestrian bridge is because of the TEE center, there will be very few days it's utilized.

countyman
19507
Points
countyman 01/15/13 - 03:22 pm
1
5
Where are you getting your

Where are you getting your information from? The TEE Center was never expected to open in January 2012, because it didn't break ground until the middle of 2010.

12 events bringing in millions of dollars, and almost 10k people is better than the zero events at the exhibition hall in Grovetown.

I don't think people realize some of these conventions last more than one day.

GnipGnop
11740
Points
GnipGnop 01/15/13 - 03:33 pm
1
1
Millions?

So by your estimate it will only take 40 to 50 years at the current pace without anymore debt to break even? WOW!!!What a deal for us South Augusta tax payers!!!!!

Little Lamb
44796
Points
Little Lamb 01/15/13 - 03:44 pm
1
1
Chicanery

Mayor Pro Tem Corey Johnson has voted no on previous votes on this matter, though Johnson is shrewd enough not to say "never." He has said he could support the issue if the deal is right and when the time is right. I think it is downright dirty politics for Fred (What, me worry?) Russell to put this item on the agenda on a day he knew that Corey Johnson would be out of town attending a mandatory workshop:

Mayor Pro Tem Corey Johnson, who last week expressed uncertainty about the project, won’t be present for today’s vote. Johnson . . . [is] attending a Sustainable Com­munities Leadership Aca­demy in New Orleans, City Administrator Fred Russell said. Their attendance is a requirement of the city’s 2010 receipt of a $1.8 million federal grant to assist redevelopment of the “priority corridor” in Augusta’s newest master plan, Russell said.

Just call him "Sneaky Pete Russell."

countyman
19507
Points
countyman 01/15/13 - 04:29 pm
1
4
The truth will set you free!

The estimate impact of $7.2 million is for the year 2013. The last time I checked 7 times 6 equals 42. If the TEE Center were to attract $7 million per year, then it would only take six years to surpass the $38 million cost.

I'm not even including the $5 million Holiday Inn Express or $1.2 million renovation of 901 Broad street(commercial space/residential). Both of those developers mentioned how the TEE center was one of the biggest deciding factors.

I'm also positive the new amenities underway/coming soon(Eros Bistro, Boars Head, Whiskey Bar Kitchen, Farmhaus Burgers) are waiting on the TEE Center.

I'm sure the developer who recently purchased the former WAGT building at 901 Broad street(restaurant/commercial space) can't wait until the Tee Center to open.

Some people may own property in South Augusta, but they definitely don't live in the area. They love to hype up both Columbia & Aiken Counties everyday on here.

The majority of Richmond county approved the TEE center.. I have no idea why somebody would single out South Augusta. Especially when the property taxes(Summerville, Forest Hills, West Augusta) are mostly coming from richer areas.

Little Lamb
44796
Points
Little Lamb 01/15/13 - 04:40 pm
0
0
Initial Vote

Incoming commissioners Mary Davis, Bill Fennoy, and Donnie Smith will cast their first meaningful vote as commissioners this evening. The project is in Bill Fennoy's district. We will see how he represents the will of District 1 residents. Davis and Smith will give us a hint as to their philosophy of government — free market vs. fascism — by their votes today.

Riverman1
81245
Points
Riverman1 01/15/13 - 05:09 pm
3
1
Countyman, easy now...I said

Countyman, easy now...I said "almost a year ago." The TEE was originally scheduled to open in the spring of 2012. Heck, you even had one event scheduled for Jan that has pulled out and it still isn't open. Fire every single person on every development authority Richmond County has and all their peons too.

seenitB4
83988
Points
seenitB4 01/15/13 - 05:17 pm
3
0
Cost effective

Wouldn't it be more cost effective to have a limousine just chauffeur the few people across the street.....you would only need them about 12 times a year..or is that multiple years....

seenitB4
83988
Points
seenitB4 01/15/13 - 05:20 pm
1
0
Make up your mind ctyman

Sometimes you say we have wedges of wealth in south Richmond county.....do we or not have wealth in south Richmond county??

seenitB4
83988
Points
seenitB4 01/15/13 - 05:22 pm
2
0
Wealth

why somebody would single out South Augusta. Especially when the property taxes(Summerville, Forest Hills, West Augusta) are mostly coming from richer areas.

But but but...south Augusta is LARGER...

Riverman1
81245
Points
Riverman1 01/15/13 - 05:27 pm
3
0
I think South Augusta with

I think South Augusta with all its industry and jobs contributes lots to Richmond Cty.

Little Lamb
44796
Points
Little Lamb 01/15/13 - 05:29 pm
2
0
Savings

Good idea about the limousine, SeenIt.

:-)

seenitB4
83988
Points
seenitB4 01/15/13 - 05:30 pm
1
0
TIMBER

Not to mention all the TREES in south Augusta....some of the rednecks in that area could shock ya with their bank accounts.....
ctyman must be veeeery young......or he would know that!

seenitB4
83988
Points
seenitB4 01/15/13 - 05:32 pm
0
0
Thanks Llamb

We are clicking together today LL....♥

justthefacts
21053
Points
justthefacts 01/15/13 - 05:39 pm
1
0
Question for Countyman

Don't usually comment on Augusta issue because I don't live there. But I do have a question/comment. The $7 million is revenue, not profit...right? Big difference.

thauch12
6341
Points
thauch12 01/15/13 - 05:44 pm
0
0
@Little Lamb, I don't know

@Little Lamb, I don't know what school of psychology your theory falls under, but it's absolute bunk. By your logic, there should be all kinds of accidents occurring all over the nation because people apparently react like rats to color stimulation.

Personally, I think if we're going to spend the money to build this convention center, we might as well do it correctly. Does that mean we need to build a million dollar bridge? I'm not sold...

Little Lamb
44796
Points
Little Lamb 01/15/13 - 05:46 pm
2
0
No

JTF, Countyman's $7 million dollar figure is just a made-up number called "economic impact." The politicians justify their massive public works boondoggles by saying that convention-goers will spend $7 million a year in hotel rooms, meals, shopping, etc. It does not go to paying for the center nor the operating expenses. It's a sham and a scam.

justthefacts
21053
Points
justthefacts 01/15/13 - 05:51 pm
0
0
LL

OK, then the "7x6" formula doesn't work.

countyman
19507
Points
countyman 01/15/13 - 07:04 pm
1
3
The address of the former

The address of the former WAGT building is 905 Broad, and not 901 Broad(different project).

I take up for South Augusta all the time, but some areas of Richmond County are wealthier.

The Georgia Association Chiefs of Police will be here in Augusta 2013 at the end of the month(27th-30th).

How can 250 people not sleep, eat, shop, etc over a four day period? The figures don't include the private investment opening, because of the TEE Center.

How can you spin all of the new things open/coming soon in the CBD? (Eros Bistro, Sprint Food & Metro Market, 905 Broad(restaurant/meeting space).

Riverman1
81245
Points
Riverman1 01/15/13 - 08:12 pm
0
1
The commission turned down

The commission turned down the bridge tonight. The vote was 4-4.

Gage Creed
16437
Points
Gage Creed 01/15/13 - 09:18 pm
1
1
What about the negative

What about the negative impact to the meeting facilities and exhibition hall at JBA and other local venues?

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