Johnson pushes new $100 million coliseum complex at campaign announcement

Flanked by his parents Arlene and Alston Johnson, Augusta Mayor Pro Tem Corey Johnson (center) says his run for the state Senate doesn't mean his commission work is done.

Augusta Mayor Pro Tem Corey Johnson is running for state Senate – but first, the two-term Augusta Commission member said, he wants to help bring a $100 million coliseum and performing arts theater to the downtown riverfront.

“I still have a year left on the commission, and the work is not over,” Johnson said at a campaign announcement Tuesday. “That’s why I’m pro­po­sing that we start the conversation to build a new entertainment complex.

“This will consist of a new 12,000- to 15,000-seat James Brown Arena and performing arts theater and, in my
opinion, (located) on the river.”

The $100 million endeavor would require funding from the city’s latest special purpose local option sales tax package now under development, Johnson said.

It would replace the aging and outdated James Brown Arena and Bell Auditorium, and it could prepare the city to hold much larger sports events such as the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, he said.

Johnson said he had spoken with members of the Brown family and the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority and representatives of Georgia Regents University and that all are on board with the plan.

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