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Officials seek to designate downtown a "slum"

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Is downtown Augusta a “slum?”

For the purpose of borrowing money to help fund some of the $40 million in renovations at Augusta Municipal Building, yes it is.

Going for approval Monday by a city committee is the official designation as a “slum area” of 594 downtown acres, bounded roughly by 15th and Reynolds streets, Gordon Highway and Walton Way.

The slum, according to a resolution designating downtown as an “Urban Redevelopment Area,” is fraught with dilapidation, deterioration, vacancy and obsolescence to the point of creating health hazards, encouraging crime and delinquency and increasing infant mortality. It also suffers from isolation – brought on by noise, the riverfront levee, rail lines that bisect historic districts and busy thoroughfares that create “psychological barriers” to growth and expansion, according to the resolution.

Despite some downtown detractors’ long-held assertions now nearly official, District 1 Commissioner Bill Fennoy disagreed. The area, which also includes the new Augusta Convention Center and a handful of incoming restaurants and bars, hasn’t sunk to that level.

“I wouldn’t describe it as a slum,” Fennoy said.

Made possible under Georgia’s Urban Redevelopment Law, governments can create Urban Redevelopment Areas in which – based on “slum” conditions – they have enhanced powers, including the issue of tax-exempt bonds not subject to statutory limits. In fact, a $26.5 million issue of revenue bonds is part of the slum designation package up for committee approval on Monday.

The $40.5 million Municipal Building renovations, part of the development area’s Urban Redevelopment Plan, are also a part of the package going for approval Monday. The renovations are to be paid using $8.9 million from SPLOST 6, $5.7 million from SPLOST 6-backed bonds issued in 2010 plus $26.5 million in new city-guaranteed bonds to be callable and repaid from SPLOST 7, although the next 1 percent sales tax won’t go before voters until next year.

The designation, which was similarly overlaid on the Laney-Walker and Bethlehem revitalization project, also gives a government increased powers to buy and sell properties for redevelopment, while waiving zoning and other requirements.

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David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 09/06/13 - 02:41 pm
4
0
See? Had we all agreed to

See? Had we all agreed to give Deke the stadium on the crick, Augusta wouldn't be in this fiasco.

A- Greenjackets would stay in Augusta
B- No extra time/resources for beautifying, and gentrifying, and lyin, etc.
C- I would be happy

Now with this latest greatest scheme, I say let that sucker B-U-R-N ! ! !

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 09/06/13 - 02:47 pm
3
0
Goin forward I'm calling it "Slumtown"

keepin ya head above water
makin the wave when you can
temporary layoff.....

ez credit n ripoffs

ain't we lucky we got'm

dichotomy
32778
Points
dichotomy 09/06/13 - 02:49 pm
8
0
Revitalize???

After 17 years of consolidation, and forced submission to the stacked power of the "downtown" controlled commission, not only are they officially declaring their failure to make things better by admitting the downtown is still a slum, they have managed to create ANOTHER slum in South Augusta. PLUS they are admitting their FAILURE to manage all of the NORMAL REVENUE they take from us and the EXTRA SPLOST REVENUE that we have given them. They are calling the ENTIRE downtown area a SLUM in order to FRAUDULENTLY obtain a loan to spend on a SINGLE, MISMANAGED project.

And for ALL of this mismanagement, conniving, scheming, "creative financing", tax increases, and SPLOSTS, the ONLY people in this ENTIRE COUNTY I know for sure that are better off now than before we started is Paul Simon and "associates" and a few commissioners, including one or two current commissioners.

Brad Owens
4422
Points
Brad Owens 09/06/13 - 02:58 pm
2
1
David Parker...

Sorry Old Boy, you are referring to the "ghetto" not the slums. Although ghettos can be slums, and many are, a slum is not ethnic specific and so hence your song, the theme to one of the most brilliant sitcoms in our history, was about the "Black" Afrikan-American Ghetto.

Brad Owens
4422
Points
Brad Owens 09/06/13 - 02:59 pm
2
0
“I wouldn't describe it as a

“I wouldn't describe it as a slum,” Fennoy said.

countyman
20082
Points
countyman 09/06/13 - 03:42 pm
1
7
Corgimom.. The over 1.5

Corgimom.. The over 1.5 million visitors coming to Richmond County are counted in the totals for Augusta. Any visitors coming to Martinez are included in the tourism of Columbia County.

The percentage of poverty you continue to quote daily is the average between 2007-2011. It's not the percentage from 2011.

I bet the comments will be much different in the article related to North Augusta. Their designated their downtown as 'blighted', but watch the double standards follow.

harley_52
23207
Points
harley_52 09/06/13 - 03:52 pm
6
3
Corgimom asks...."Do you value credibility?"

Why would you be inquiring about someone's "credibility."

As one who erases past posts to hide your own foolish comments AFTER someone has already commented on them, you obviously know very little about the subject.

harley_52
23207
Points
harley_52 09/06/13 - 04:05 pm
2
4
I'd Comment About This...

...."slum" designation, but I don't think I know enough about it to make an intelligent comment (not that others feel restricted for that reason).

It MAY be that it's simply a technicality that's necessary to get the approval to borrow funds up to the total amount as needed, as opposed to getting the entire sum up front.

It MAY be that the Commission intends to borrow the money ONLY IF voters approve of the projects prior to borrowing the money.

As to whether it's really a "slum" in total, in part, or what the precise definition of the term as used in the language of the legislation, I really can't say.

I will say this....if making such a designation is necessary to get low cost funding for voter approved projects saves the city/county substantial interest costs, I don't care if they call it a "slum," or a "dump," or whatever.

I don't think anybody denies there are parts of the area in question actually are "slums," even by the most commonly understood definition. Other parts clearly are not.

Interesting that the usual crew takes the opportunity to badmouth ARC, especially those who don't even live (or pay taxes) here.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 09/06/13 - 04:18 pm
7
0
Harley left his laptop

Harley left his laptop unlocked and CMan just punked him.

harley_52
23207
Points
harley_52 09/06/13 - 04:23 pm
2
4
No Way.....

Countyman is far more eloquent than I.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 09/06/13 - 04:29 pm
3
0
@ Brad

Good Times was right there at the top. Try this one, not more accurate but still:

Green acres is the place to be
Farm living is the life for me
Land spreading out,
so far and wide
Keep Manhattan,
just give me that countryside.

Shoot, this is more about beauty being in the eye of the beholder. Last one,

Well, The Man, he don't trust you. He thinks you try to bust up all his dreams.
But The Man, he don't know now, that you got your own crazy plans and schemes.
Well there's good in every one, and a new day has begun.
You can see the morning sun if you try.
And I know things will be better.

seenitB4
86829
Points
seenitB4 09/06/13 - 04:57 pm
2
1
harley

I think that is what bubba was trying to explain to us in his post.....that there are reasons for calling it a slum...but my fear is that most will bypass the reasons & think poorly of the area.....when we all know that some areas are in the millions of dollars..I just pulled up a few homes in Summerville & saw the prices...& other places in s Augusta too..

dichotomy
32778
Points
dichotomy 09/06/13 - 05:21 pm
9
0
The problem for me is that

The problem for me is that they are calling a large area a "slum" to fraudulently borrow money THAT WILL NOT BE SPENT ON ANY PART OR IN ANY WAY to improve the "slum" areas. It's simply more fraudulent spending of OUR money (because we have to pay it back) by Fred (what, me worry) Russell just like the EXTRA $tens of millions he connived to get spent on the TEE and parking deck THAT WERE NOT APPROVED FOR SPENDING BY THE VOTERS.

townsends
185
Points
townsends 09/06/13 - 07:02 pm
3
0
NUTS

It is junk like this that confines me from eloquently counter-arguing why I do not live in Disgusta.

harley_52
23207
Points
harley_52 09/06/13 - 07:31 pm
1
1
seenitb4...

I agree. Very well said.

CobaltGeorge
158146
Points
CobaltGeorge 09/06/13 - 07:38 pm
1
1
That There Is The Top Comment Of The Day!

"The over 1.5 million visitors to Richmond County EVERY DAY love downtown Augusta..

Does countyman realize how many cars that would be in RC to have 1.5 million visitors, even if each car had 6 in it?!. Now add one car for the 200,000 residents that are already here. There would be no movement on any road, nothing but a bumper to bumper traffic jam.

leebraxjr
270
Points
leebraxjr 09/07/13 - 02:38 pm
1
0
Downtown Slums

Reading the comments on this topic really makes me proud to be in Augusta, the reason being is the people are making valid comments, now if the Commissioners would listen.

Here is a thought. If the areas downtown are considered slums, instead of taxing the people, why not skip the formalities and make the area a business district. This way more companies can invest, bring jobs, and higher wages. Many of you say where will the people live? Answer- Out of the inner city.
That is the main goal of these commissioners anyway. They just do not want to tap businesses to pay for the redevelopment of the inner city.

porsche
11
Points
porsche 09/19/13 - 11:25 pm
0
0
Central Business District "slum designation"

Commissioners need to get on the ball and educate themselves on what's going on with the programs being operated by city departments. The consolidated city of Augusta has been using federal HUD funds to rehab the front of commercial buildings in the CBD under the "slum designation" approved by the former city of Augusta in 1983.

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