Richmond County master plan to be unveiled today

  • Follow Metro

Augusta unveils its new master plan today, a massive, $500,000 document detailing $1.5 billion in development projects across Richmond County, known as the Augusta Sustainable Development Agenda.

Back | Next
John Shields, of Shields Design, talks with community members at Paine College about the new Augusta Sustainable Development Agenda. Paine is located along the plan's proposed Augusta Way corridor.  Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
John Shields, of Shields Design, talks with community members at Paine College about the new Augusta Sustainable Development Agenda. Paine is located along the plan's proposed Augusta Way corridor.

Before the public had a first look at the finalized agenda, plan author John Shields shopped for buy-in Wednesday at one of the plan's epicenters, Paine College.

Paine is located along the proposed "Augusta Way," a strategic corridor connecting Augusta's downtown medical community with the proposed Rocky Creek Mixed-Use Park, a radical reconfiguration of the debilitated Regency Mall area.

"It's hard to imagine this being the grand boulevard of Augusta," Shields told area pastors, school representatives and other stakeholders gathered in the Paine president's board room.

The agenda proposes -- as its priority plan of action -- to expand Augusta's downtown core south, redeveloping neighborhoods, beautifying roads and refurbishing defunct shopping centers all the way from 15th Street to Regency Mall.

The agenda, subtitled "Realizing the Garden City," hopes to piggyback on a Georgia Department of Transportation road-widening project along the route, but do much more, Shields said.

"Fifteenth represents a really good opportunity," Shields said during a recent interview. "It's where Augusta can grow."

To become the "grand" approach for all visitors from the south, Augusta Way will feature landscaped medians, pedestrian and bike routes and multimodal transit stops, such as the agenda recommends at several of its other prototype project sites.

Farther south along Augusta Way, the agenda proposes a complete overhaul of neighborhoods from T.W. Josey High School to MLK Boulevard to Deans Bridge Road, in a project known as the Oates Creek Neighborhood Revitalization.

Tied to the reconstruction of Cherry Tree Crossing and Dogwood Terrace public housing developments, the project proposes the addition of more than 700 new low-income and market-rate housing units.

Farther south, the agenda's planned Rocky Creek Regional Mixed-Use Center is its costliest proposal, at nearly $200 million, including $56.5 million in public infrastructure and funds.

This development also piggybacks on a project already in the works, Augusta's planned flood control project along Rocky Creek.

The plan intends to transform the area, located at the near-geographic center of Augusta-Richmond County, into an "employment-focused destination" complete with a recreational water feature made from the flood control project.

Stretching from Deans Bridge Road along Gordon Highway north of Milledgeville Road and serving as the southern anchor of Augusta's urban core, the development includes the addition of more than 200,000 square feet of commercial, office and light manufacturing and more than 3,000 residential units.

The proposal doesn't touch the vacant Regency Mall, owned by New York-based Cardinal Entities.

"When the Regency Mall wants to join with that community, it can," Shields said.

Most of the agenda's 11 initiatives are located on the city's south side, with the exception of an Upper Broad Street Neighborhood Revitalization, the Sand Bar Ferry "Garden City Gateway" project and the proposed Belair Town Center.

The upper Broad project proposes to create an attractive "Garden City Boulevard" approach to downtown through rezoning and landscaping, and to restore and expand Olmstead Park, creating a high-end high-rise residential area overlooking Lake Olmstead.

Belair Town Center includes the addition of 190,000 square feet of retail and office space at the high-traffic arterial gateway from Fort Gordon and Columbia County at Interstate 20.

The agenda includes two prototypes for Augusta's rural southern quarter.

One is the Spirit Creek Rural Hamlet, which plans to cluster businesses and a creekside park with a nearby conservation subdivision.

The other is a proposed repositioning of a Blythe farm, to create "rural lifestyle" housing and scenic agricultural views for incoming visitors.

Augusta commissioners, who voted in the city's newest master plan partly in reaction to the success of the Westobou downtown Augusta-North Augusta plan also drafted by Shields, were ambivalent as it neared delivery.

"I don't think much of what's in that plan the government is going to do," remarked Commissioner Joe Bowles, who voted against commissioning the plan last year.

The agenda calls for 75 to 80 percent of project funds to come from private sources, but needs public support for the rest, according to Shields.

"I have not seen it, so I'm not in any position to comment on it," Commissioner J.R. Hatney said.

Commissioner Corey Johnson was enthusiastic about most of the agenda, although he questioned its Augusta Way proposal, saying its impact on adjoining property owners might be insurmountable.

"Some things are unrealistic," he said.

If you go

The Augusta Commission has invited the public to the unveiling of the Augusta Sustainable Development Agenda today at 6:30 p.m. in Augusta Tech Auditorium, 3200 Augusta Tech Drive.

Comments (62) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
TK3
562
Points
TK3 10/14/10 - 07:44 am
0
0
The whole plan is

The whole plan is "unrealistic" in a free enterprise system. Having been a City Planner,etc., I can tell you COG has a hand in the planning/goals and the plan will in effect run people out of their homes and businesses in order to give developer$ land they could not get without government force. Government has no business in "business" nor working for developers. Local socialist leaning government will fiddle again after setting fire and watching, more free enterprise burn.
PS: Enjoy comment rights here as Ch12 has apparently stopped allowing any comments on their site.

Unbelievable
192
Points
Unbelievable 10/14/10 - 07:44 am
0
0
So we keep putting money in

So we keep putting money in areas of blight, and Walton Way hasnt been paved in 15 years. Makes sense. Laney Walker has been paved 5 times in that span of time.

Riverman1
120319
Points
Riverman1 10/14/10 - 07:45 am
0
0
Yeah, good luck with that.

Yeah, good luck with that. This is like a fantasy game where we think of projects that we can't possibly pay for. The people who designed the plan are as out of touch as the guy who built the Bowman UFO. $500,000, wowza.

humbleopinion
1
Points
humbleopinion 10/14/10 - 07:46 am
0
0
They have got to be

They have got to be KIDDING.....Do they really think tha throwing away this kind of money on the areas they are proposing is going to work. This sounds like the Richmond County version of Obama's stimulus bill....More money for low income housing and housing projects that are already blighted BY THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE THERE all the way to a mall that was destroyed by the people who live in that area. Where do I go to vote NO to this MASSIVE waste of money?

humbleopinion
1
Points
humbleopinion 10/14/10 - 07:49 am
0
0
As for the high rise

As for the high rise development near Lake Olmstead, the REAL powers of Richmond County have already stamped a big NO to this.....The Augusta National has blocked a high rise that was going to be built where Fresh Market is located and will certainly say no to anything being built near their holy grounds that isn't built by THEM.

Indigo
4
Points
Indigo 10/14/10 - 07:50 am
0
0
500 grand.........down the

500 grand.........down the tubes. Pretty pictures and unrealistic dreams.

CabisKhan
172
Points
CabisKhan 10/14/10 - 08:07 am
0
0
Is there a link to these

Is there a link to these pretty pictures?

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 10/14/10 - 08:12 am
0
0
More fantasy and less

More fantasy and less practical solutions. Heck, you could have paid me a lot less than $500,000 to sit in a room and draw up a bunch of dream projects with absolutely no way to fund them. How about a Disney World in South Augusta? How about a Monorail? How about an underground aquarium? ..I can think of a gazillion fun things we could all wish for.. but in the real world it takes money to do all of these fun things.. money we don't have. Here is $500,000 down the tubes folks and collecting dust on a shelf for decades to come.

dani
13
Points
dani 10/14/10 - 08:28 am
0
0
My favorite is the proposed

My favorite is the proposed building of 700 housing units near Cherry Tree Crossing.

dani
13
Points
dani 10/14/10 - 08:30 am
0
0
A voice of reason: I don't

A voice of reason:

I don't think much of what's in that plan the government is going to do," remarked Commissioner Joe Bowles, who voted against commissioning the plan last year.

peonynut
2
Points
peonynut 10/14/10 - 08:49 am
0
0
Is this a joke? Richmond

Is this a joke? Richmond County needs so much more than this bit of fluff spread over the area. How about additional deputies or a new jail or revitalizing the sheriff's department or upgrading the fire department or throwing out the non-productive employees and hiring people who actually want to work.

myparrot
23
Points
myparrot 10/14/10 - 08:53 am
0
0
It is insane paying $500,000

It is insane paying $500,000 for some PLAN that is unrealistic and will never happen! We are so sick of hearing about all this money they are doling out to companies to do “STUDIES”. The city employees, teachers and all staff are getting furloughed and increases in insurance and they continue to pay outside sources for stupid imaginary plans! Get real.

corgimom
51421
Points
corgimom 10/14/10 - 08:53 am
0
0
"I don't think much of what's

"I don't think much of what's in that plan the government is going to do," remarked Commissioner Joe Bowles, who voted against commissioning the plan last year."

At least SOMEBODY on the Commission has some sanity!

I could've dreamt up something like that- and it wouldn't cost no stinkin' $500,000.

I just think of what charities like Golden Harvest Food Bank could do with $500,000. Or what the Sheriff's department could do with $500,000.

TeamLoser
1
Points
TeamLoser 10/14/10 - 09:01 am
0
0
I'm considering going to see

I'm considering going to see what came of all this wasted money. They should have just bought 250,000 pounds of bacon....

Who is going to build in those areas, who is going to shop at those new retail stores? I doubt we would see upscale stores in that area, at east ones that would last.

And who wants to buy a house near Cherry Tree Crossing

corgimom
51421
Points
corgimom 10/14/10 - 09:03 am
0
0
I wonder where the escalating

I wonder where the escalating crime and criminals fits into their Master Plan.

Who cares if there's landscaped medians when you are afraid to be there?

augusta citizen
10927
Points
augusta citizen 10/14/10 - 09:03 am
0
0
Thank goodness Joe Bowles has

Thank goodness Joe Bowles has good sense, too bad he was in the minority on this huge waste of hard earned taxpayer monies.

Little Lamb
56669
Points
Little Lamb 10/14/10 - 09:16 am
0
0
I would be interested to know

I would be interested to know what Shields' plan proposes for the GGGHoF property on Reynolds Street. Does anyone know?

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 10/14/10 - 09:18 am
0
0
The problem with this "study"

The problem with this "study" is that it is nothing but a "wishlist". It does not address HOW any of this would be paid for.. that's what you really need to "study." There simply is no economic rationale for much of what is in this "plan".. I see this as basically just a big $500,000 campaign ad for Deke right before the election.. interesting the timing on this. But I think it will backfire because this is the $500,000 that could have kept more police on the streets. And if we really want to a masterplan for growth, how about include the people who live here in the decisiion making process? How about ask the people who live here what they want to see and what they want the city to look like in 30 years instead of outsourcing the job to a firm in Boston?

Little Lamb
56669
Points
Little Lamb 10/14/10 - 09:20 am
0
0
I had to laugh when I read

I had to laugh when I read this in the article above:

"I have not seen it, so I'm not in any position to comment on it," Commissioner J.R. Hatney said.

Even after he's seen it he will be in no position to comment on it — at least in any intelligent or intelligible manner.

TeamLoser
1
Points
TeamLoser 10/14/10 - 09:35 am
0
0
@corgimom Maybe the hope new

@corgimom

Maybe the hope new stores will bring new people into the area giving the criminals more people to "do business with" thereby also helping boost the criminal element of the economy. I'm sure the man selling bootleg movies at the McDonalds parking lot on Deans Bridge Rd yesterday could use some extra business.

proud2bamerican
441
Points
proud2bamerican 10/14/10 - 09:37 am
0
0
I hate to add to the

I hate to add to the cynicism, but really...why can't we even mow the neck high grass, weeds, etc. ALL OVER town - especially at the on/off ramps along I-20 (entrances to our city), and all along Riverwatch; medians, etc.?? It truly looks like a third world country compared to most cities, esp. compared to our neighbor, N. Augusta!! It remains the same even during Masters, year after year after year. Has anyone ever heard of 'curb appeal', 'first impressions', etc. If we cannot even take care of our 'front yard' why do we consider building a bigger house, and why would we expect anyone else to be impressed??? It is truly embarrassing.

proud2bamerican
441
Points
proud2bamerican 10/14/10 - 09:40 am
0
0
"To become the "grand"

"To become the "grand" approach for all visitors from the south, Augusta Way will feature landscaped medians, pedestrian and bike routes and multimodal transit stops, such as the agenda recommends at several of its other prototype project sites"...again, we cannot even keep up to a decent degree what we have now - WHO is in charge of this?? WHO can do something about the ridiculous mess of our unkempt "landscaping"??

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 10/14/10 - 09:44 am
0
0
$500,000 PR ad for Deke paid

$500,000 PR ad for Deke paid for with your money.. that's what this is.

proud2bamerican
441
Points
proud2bamerican 10/14/10 - 09:49 am
0
0
Education forests are closing

Education forests are closing right now, but we have $1.5 BIL for "development projects"?! "...the commission's other education forests -- Bartram in Milledgeville and Hightower in Dawson County -- also are closing their education programs...." too. Who are you voting for, and how are they involved in these decisions?...http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro/2010-10-14/educational-forest-close#comment-893370

proud2bamerican
441
Points
proud2bamerican 10/14/10 - 09:50 am
0
0
disappointing...truly

disappointing...truly disappointing

airbud7
1
Points
airbud7 10/14/10 - 09:55 am
0
0
I like Emerydan's Idea Best,

I like Emerydan's Idea Best, underground aquarium, Monorail, Disney World in South Augusta!
Great ideas, and he didn't charge anything! By the way Teamloser, I didn't know bacon cost $2.00 per pound, where have I been?

jrbfromga
724
Points
jrbfromga 10/14/10 - 10:11 am
0
0
I have a really great idea
Unpublished

I have a really great idea for housing at Cherry Hill...build a new jail there, that way most of the people in the slammer will feel at home.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 10/14/10 - 10:13 am
0
0
Or how about Six Flags Over

Or how about Six Flags Over McBean?

dani
13
Points
dani 10/14/10 - 10:15 am
0
0
proud2b..What happened to the

proud2b..What happened to the "Adopt a highway" program. Do you know if it is still around?
Some of the non-working folks could volunteer with the help of a judge or two.

augusta citizen
10927
Points
augusta citizen 10/14/10 - 10:19 am
0
0
proud2bamerican, so right

proud2bamerican, so right about curb appeal. I had an out of town guest last weekend and tried to be a good citizen. We went to Manuel's in N. Augusta (at Hammond's Ferry) and had a nice meal in clean neat surroundings. Then went to Reynolds St. to walk through the Farmer's Market. The Hispanic Festival was in progress, so we parked and walked a couple of blocks. The sidewalks were nasty, I've brought this up before does the City not own a pressure washer?? There was no mulch around the sidewalk trees unless cigarette butts and bubble gum count as mulch down there. I was embarrassed with how dirty everything looked. Obviously I'll not take an out of town guest downtown again, but we want to have big dreams when we don't maintain what we have now.

Back to Top
loading...
Search Augusta jobs