$1 golf gardens sale called unlikely

State still paying on $6 million deal

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ATLANTA --- Augusta isn't likely to get the defunct Georgia Golf Hall of Fame property for only $1, says the chairman of a key Senate committee.

Augusta Sen. Hardie Davis introduced legislation shortly after winning a special election to complete the balance of Ed Tarver's Senate term.

Davis' bill, similar to one Tarver had introduced last year before his nomination to become U.S. attorney, would formally close the Hall of Fame and transfer the land to the city for one buck.

But Davis isn't likely to have better luck than Tarver.

Sen. Johnny Grant, R-Milledgeville, is chairman of the Senate Committee on State Institutions and Properties, which will evaluate the legislation. He said Davis' proposal is flawed.

"I'm going to have to disagree with him on this bill," Grant said. "One of my jobs as a senator is to look after the fiduciary interests of the whole state. I just cannot see how we, in good financial responsibility, can approve that bill."

Some Augusta civic leaders, including Mayor Deke Copenhaver, want the property to become the new home of the Augusta GreenJackets minor-league baseball team. They argue bringing fans downtown will help pump customers into businesses and life into the riverfront area.

Davis isn't sure a stadium is the best use the public could make of the land, given the current economy and state budget shortfall. He wants to let voters decide on the best public use, as they did on the trade, exhibit and event center.

"In the current climate with a $1.5 billion shortfall and declining revenues on the local level as well, a baseball stadium is not wise," he said.

Davis said he wants to get local control of the land the state has held for 15 years and recently let degenerate into an eyesore.

Other advocates see the transfer as an opportunity for local entrepreneurs to develop commercial businesses like those that sold the land to the state a decade ago for the gardens and museum, which were supposed to lure fans of the Masters Tournament.

But Davis' $1 bid is far from the market value. Current values might be less than the original price, Grant conceded, but they're more than $1.

The state bought the land for $6 million and still owes $2.8 million on bonds used to finance it.

Gov. Sonny Perdue's legal advisers warned him that the state constitution prohibits giveaways of state assets, which would require the full, current value, said Perdue spokesman Bert Brantley.

What about the value of the land Augusta recently gave the state for expansion of the Medical College of Georgia?

"A previous transaction can't be considered," Brantley said.

Perdue has been in discussions with Copenhaver, Brantley said.

"I think the governor senses the mayor's excitement. I think it's just a matter of figuring out the right legal process," he said.

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Frank I
1191
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Frank I 03/01/10 - 01:01 am
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0
OK, so if the State doesn't

OK, so if the State doesn't want to "forgive" the $2.8 million, I think we as a community should hold the state accountable for the $10 million for the MCG expansion.. we'll call it fair with a $7.6 million surplus right? forgive me for the unconventional way of saying it Sen. Davis, but don't let the State "f'" us!!

Brad Owens
4423
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Brad Owens 03/01/10 - 05:47 am
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Davis doesn't support the

Davis doesn't support the stadium and neither does the owner of this newspaper who endorsed him.

Also, notice this phrase please, "Other advocates see the transfer as an opportunity for local entrepreneurs to develop commercial businesses."

Who are these 'Others' that want the property? I smell a big fat rat here. If the land is so valuable, then why not auction it off? The State government is in a HUGE budget shortfall, so lets sell this and get some of the gazillions spent on this back.

I think I see a land tranfer to Augusta, then a portion going for public use or a 'plan' will be put forward by some group, like the TEE Center crowd, that has a public-private partnership. The public part will be all the cash to do it and the private will be the folks that benifit directly form it and the people will be left with nothing, as usual.

Oh well, good luck with that one.

Maybe the State would sell it to me for the money owed on the bonds? I can put together $2,000,000.00 from my gold and diamond mining pals here in Africa. Then we could make it green space until the land market turns around in the states and then we can get Richmoind county to pay me $6,000,000.00 for the land and E.G. Meybohn can broker the deal as a favor to the county again.

Brad

Riverman1
83725
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Riverman1 03/01/10 - 05:57 am
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Richmond County gave the

Richmond County gave the state $10 million for the MCG expansion, Columbia County gave the state $1 million by building it a new State Patrol Post. The people who had their land taken at minimal compensation for the GGHOF may now see it going to the highest bidder. Some things are not right.

johnston.cliff
2
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johnston.cliff 03/01/10 - 06:36 am
0
0
Nothing is decided yet. This

Nothing is decided yet. This is state government business and delay is the order of the day. More political posturing is needed before any decisions can be considered.

deekster
24
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deekster 03/01/10 - 09:18 am
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Right On Brad!!!! Come home

Right On Brad!!!! Come home and run for Mayor. Better yet, apply for City Administrator and do away with the "mayor position". Its fluff. City Manager form of Government with a "qualified manager". But alas, "Welcome to Dysfunction Junction". Trains everywhere!!! We even have an sweet "Uncle Joe".

Brad Owens
4423
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Brad Owens 03/01/10 - 09:39 am
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http://www.legis.state.ga.us/

http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2009_10/senate/grantbio.php

Here is the webpage for the Senator in charge of this.

Capitol Office:

321-A Coverdell Legislative Office Building
Atlanta, GA 30334
Phone: (404) 656-0082
Fax: (404) 657-3248
Legislative Assistant:
Donna Yeomans
District Office:

P.O. Box 1458
Milledgeville, GA 31059
(478) 452-1427 (H)
(478) 451-7234(C)

Email: johnny.grant@senate.ga.gov

Call him and give him your $0.02 worth.

Brad

Brad Owens
4423
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Brad Owens 03/01/10 - 09:43 am
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deekster, you crack me up

deekster, you crack me up man. I know some folks don't 'get' your sense of humor but I do, keep it up.

You and Riverman1, LL, the Fed, cliff, and other who post a lot, never fail to keep me laughing.

I guess we gotta laugh or insanity would set in huh?

Brad

Brad Owens
4423
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Brad Owens 03/01/10 - 09:51 am
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By the way, J.B. Powell is on

By the way, J.B. Powell is on the Committee too...

http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2009_10/senate/sinprop.php

It is PACKED with Democratic Senators!

Committee Members
Grant, Johnny (R-SS 25) Chairman
Stoner, Doug (D-SS 06) Vice Chairman
Seay, Valencia (D-SS 34) Secretary
Buckner, Gail (D-SS 44) Member
Fort, Vincent (D-SS 39) Member
James, Donzella (D-SS 35) Member
Powell, J. B. (D-SS 23) Member
Williams, Tommie (R-SS 19) Ex-Officio

Looks like Deke is a member of the wrong party even if the GOP controls the State it looks like this committee is stacked the Dems way. Maybe J.B. is onto something. I still say auction it off with a reserve price of what is owed on the bonds.

Brad

mary dits
2
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mary dits 03/01/10 - 12:21 pm
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"I think the governor senses

"I think the governor senses the mayor's excitement."

themaninthemirror
0
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themaninthemirror 03/01/10 - 01:51 pm
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The governor is really

The governor is really excited about the opportunity to put the "screws" to Augusta, as he has done so many times in the past.

themaninthemirror
0
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themaninthemirror 03/01/10 - 01:54 pm
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Duplicate Post.No way to

Duplicate Post.No way to delete.

Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 03/01/10 - 05:33 pm
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Well, back to the lawnmowers

Well, back to the lawnmowers this summer... If the state decides to let us....

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 03/01/10 - 06:47 pm
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auction it off I say if you

auction it off I say if you want it to be privately developed.

corgimom
32232
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corgimom 03/02/10 - 04:42 pm
0
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There is no such thing as

There is no such thing as "forgiveness" of a debt where bonds are issued. The State is stuck paying the $2.8 million no matter what it sells the land for.

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