Panel eyes stadium plan again

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Plans to build a publicly financed multipurpose stadium, condominium and retail complex on the former Georgia Golf Hall of Fame property aren't dead -- they were just sleeping.

Eighteen months since a majority of the Augusta Commission panned the idea and nearly a year since Democratic voters in a low-turnout July primary did the same, the proposal again is being preliminarily floated -- this time by District 1 Commissioner Matt Aitken.

"Just exploring the options is not going to hurt anything," Aitken said. "We've got to figure out some ways to generate cash flow as well as investment opportunity."

Aitken, who has placed the item on the agenda for Tuesday's 5 p.m. commission meeting, said he had met with developers on the private side of the project who want to know what options for public support exist.

Last year's proposal was for a public-private partnership to finance development of a $38.7 million complex on the state-owned, 17-acre property. Private partners included Jacoby Development and Augusta GreenJackets owner Cal Ripken, who wants a new stadium for the team.

"I don't know how long their interest will stay in Augusta if they can't do business in the city," Aitken said.

The golf hall property has languished as a magnet for the homeless and weeds since the state pulled its funding in 2007. Last year, the State Properties Commission began preparations to auction the property at a minimum bid price of $2.8 million, to cover bonds still outstanding from the state's purchase of the land from owners in the 1990s.

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countyman
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countyman 06/04/11 - 11:56 am
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Why do you assume this isn't

Why do you assume this isn't popular on the southside of the county??

Are you going by the Seenitb4 comment? I don't think she knows how much money is being spent in South Augusta.. Keep in mind she lives in Gwinnett County and not South Augusta...

People in every part of Richmond County realize the heart of the city needs to be clean, safe, vibrant, and cosmopolitan...

People have to realize reality is much diffrent than the comments made on the Augusta Chronicle.. I was told repeatedly Lori Davis would be the next mayor of Augusta.. Deke ended up winning the election with over 60% of the vote.. People continued to say the Village at Riverwatch project in West Augusta was dead... The 115 acre development is under construction off Riverwatch Pkwy...

Discussionstarter
495
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Discussionstarter 06/04/11 - 11:52 am
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It's too late now... but we

It's too late now... but we could have encouraged MCG and UH to continue their building focus in the direction of the new judicial center... and then put the new judicial center on the Golf Hall gardens property. We would then have had a beautiful government building overlooking the river like the City of North Augusta does. There are lots of options that make better sense then the stadium; I just hope the right people can make the right decision!

seenitB4
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seenitB4 06/04/11 - 12:06 pm
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COUNTYMAN......How many times

COUNTYMAN......How many times do I have to say I have family in RICHMOND county....also many friends.....do you think they don't voice their opinion to me......posters on here have said OVER-OVER btw.....give more $$$ to the RCSD....cleanup south Augusta...crime wise & dirt wise....make the Gordon Hy. look presentable again.....give them their dollars worth cause thery sho "ain't" getting it now!!
I won't move back to RC ....my tax $$$ will go to CCty.......you can NOT sugar coat everything & cram it down voters throats.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 06/04/11 - 12:07 pm
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"ASU officials have announced

"ASU officials have announced the West Campus(mainly wrightsboro/damascus rds) will be larger than the East Campus in Summerville in the future..."

Of course that's true. The athletic fields are at the Wrightsboro Rd complex. We should encourage their other expansion in the downtown area. That could change Augusta like nothing else.

countyman
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countyman 06/04/11 - 12:08 pm
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GHSU needs to focus on

GHSU needs to focus on acquiring Sunset aka Cherry Tree Crossing.. Then move towards the area surrounding the old Davidson school..

ECDanes
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ECDanes 06/04/11 - 12:14 pm
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Go out to South Augusta

Go out to South Augusta Countyman.. the part south of Bobby Jones and ask 10 people if they support this.. I bet you would be hard pressed to find one person to answer yes. But regardless of how few people voted in the democratic straw poll.. it was a fairly representative sample (scientific polls are routinely conducted with samples of 1000 people or less and they are very accurate, usually within a few percentage points).. RC is also majority democratic. In the straw poll.. the stadium idea failed by 80%.. that is huge.. and I believe if it were on the republican ballot, it would have fared even worse. Go outside of your circle of friends countyman.. most people in Augusta think this is a bad idea, especially at this time. If it were so popular then why have no commissioners other than Matt Aitken embraced it? But if you want proof of how unpopular this things is.. how about put it on the November ballot? And it will be settled once and for all.

scgator
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scgator 06/04/11 - 12:24 pm
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I will try to be brief and to

I will try to be brief and to the point:
1-back before the city consolidated, this stadium deal was a hot topic.
2-it seems a group of Japanese investors from our "sister" city offered to buy up ALL of the vacant properties downtown IF the stadium was moved downtown
3-my father-in-law, the Late Concilman Jim Tarver was the deciding vote that prevented this from happening in the councils "pre-meetings"
4-a bribery sting was set with the chief of police, the mayor, and the late Oscar Baker
5- the scheme was to bribe Mr. Tarver with $500 to "buy" his vote
6-it did not work, although Mr. Tarver was "just an uneducated cab driver", he did possess honesty and integrity
7-the police rushed in on a failed scam and looked like idiots
8-the results were devastating to Mr. Tarver, as Oscar Baker was supposed to be a lifelong friend
9-Mr. Tarver chose to sue the city fathers for this breach on his character, however he had to go out of the area to get a lawyer; none of the "good old boys here would touch his case
10-the city finally settled with him out of court; for what amount is unknown to me.

What aggravates me to this day (in part, because I had known Mr. Tarver for most of my adult life, and knew he wasn't perfect, but he was certainly not a thief. He loved the city and it's voters and truly believed as public servants, they should put voters first above all else.), is that there is till a move on to push the stadium, even against the wishes of the voters. I will admit that just maybe a stadium downtown might be the right thing for this time period; HOWEVER, why should the voters of Augusta be forced into helping pay for it, they don't want it, will have to pay higher ticket prices, pay for parking that is currently free, and over inflated concession prices..............the crux of the whole matter is that this stadium deal was started on the sly years ago as a sham to benefit certain local real estate and business owners, and TODAY, is still attempting to resurrect what was built on lying and deceit against the Augusta voters.

Augusta voters need to band together and DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY FROM THEIR COMMISSIONERS; if some wants a new stadium built, especially in this economy, let THEM foot the bill, not the taxpayers.

This is about a short as I could get, but every time this stadium issue comes up, it is like a slap in the face to the Tarver family; He had a simple philosophy, ........have a desire to see better government for the people, and when elected to office, simply serve the people.

scgator
1042
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scgator 06/04/11 - 12:22 pm
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ADDED NOTE: I have also known

ADDED NOTE: I have also known Matt Aitken for over twenty years, he was a "puppet" and "yes" man then and nothing has changed...........he has learned what to say and what to do in front of the right people, in order to keep him where he wants to be.......

seenitB4
91139
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seenitB4 06/04/11 - 12:25 pm
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You can fool some of the

You can fool some of the people all the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) Politician. President of the United States.

ctyman....just for you.....You think I don't know what is going on in south Augusta.......do you know how disgusted people are there with RC government??

countyman
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countyman 06/04/11 - 01:04 pm
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ECDanes.. I know people who

ECDanes.. I know people who live in Goshen, along Willis Foreman rd, and others parts of South Augusta who support the idea...

A very tiny percentage of democrats actually got the chance to vote... The majority of democratic voters in RC did NOT vote.. ZERO independents or republicans got the chance to vote.

seenitB4
91139
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seenitB4 06/04/11 - 01:07 pm
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Where my info. comes from

Where my info. comes from ctyman:
Willis Foreman Rd area
Hy 56 & Lumpkin Rd area---some business owners too
Walton Way & Wheeler Rd area
Wheeless Rd & Hy1 area
Telfair St area---some business too
Peach Orch Rd area toward Lumpkin
Morgan Rd area
Bobby Jones & Wrightsboro Rd area
Yes I do hear the voices on here like thevet & dichotomy BUT many of the folks I know don't post on here & some won't buy a computer(older & satisfied with life as it is)

My question to you---where do you get your information?-----Do you care about south Augusta? It isn't all about promoting Augusta for special reasons/people is it?

seenitB4
91139
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seenitB4 06/04/11 - 01:12 pm
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I see ctyman changed his post

I see ctyman changed his post about where my info. comes from!!
Too funny.

countyman
20720
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countyman 06/04/11 - 01:30 pm
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Seenitb4... You're getting

Seenitb4... You're getting the majority of your information from people commenting on the Augusta Chronicle... Most of the people who complain about things in RC don't actually live in RC... They watch the news and read the articles online to form their opinions... I was told last year people were upset with government.. Then Deke went on to win the election with over 60% of the vote...

In this article we've both heard ASU should expand towards downtown... ASU has ZERO interest in expanding anywhere downtown...

Actually I don't think you've heard about what's going on in South Augusta... Bennett International is renovating a 437k sq. ft building on Doug Barnard Pkwy.. The $14 million project could reach up to $23 million if the company leases another building.. The multi-million(initial investment $10 million) Algae facilty is under construction.. A recent job posting online started at $80k and up.. Biotest Pharmaceuticals moved into a building located on Peach Orchard road.. Colony Plaza had two million dollar makeovers in the past two/three years. Both the Colony Plaza and Southgate shopping center have new retail openings.. The million dollar Hampton Inn is under construction on Gordon Hwy... Denny's is opening a 24 hr restaurant on Peach Orchard rd. Two or three businesses have opened at the new 7k sq. ft. retail center on Windsor Spring rd near Checkers...

The people who keep saying the city isn't spending enough money in South Augusta.. They usally don't live in RC or have a lack of knowledge on developments. Anybody can ride down Bungalow rd and Morgan rd and see the improvements made.. Check out the Diamond Lakes park and you'll automatically notice how nice the area has become... Drive down I-520 and see the $30 million Vocational high school under construction.. The new $1 million Marshalls office on Deans Bridge rd is another local investment.. Look at the new additions made to Meadowbrook Park, Mcbean Park, and the Jamestown Park..

The section of Gordon Hwy between Jimmie Dyess pkwy and Harlem is growing like crazy.. I'm guessing you're referring to the old part of Gordon Hwy in South Augusta. The city is trying to make this section Gordon Hwy area look presentable again... They're creating a lake near Regency Mall and trying to get the former mall demolished.. There's a multi-million residential community under construction off Gordon Hwy/Sibley/Milledgeville rd... They city recently repaved miles and miles of Gordon Hwy...

ECDanes
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ECDanes 06/04/11 - 01:21 pm
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I believe the democratic

I believe the democratic straw poll was a bellweather.. You don't need 100% of the electorate to see the trend of public opinion. It was 80% against.. that is huge.. are you saying that democratic primary voters were some anomoly and are outside the mainstream.. I don't think so. But fine, put it on the Nov ballot.. I predict maybe 29% voting in favor of it

ECDanes
1
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ECDanes 06/04/11 - 01:28 pm
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Is there some silent majority

Is there some silent majority in Augusta in favor of this stadium? Because I can tell you almost everyone I have heard talk about this is against it. Frank Christian did an informal poll of folks attending a Greenjackets game and the majority of them were against this.. and those are people attending the ball games. Outside of a little downtown clique, I just don't see any popular support for this.

Riverman1
87489
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Riverman1 06/04/11 - 01:32 pm
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SCGator, I got to know Ed

SCGator, I got to know Ed Tarver well when he was in the nursing home. My mother was also there and his friend. I would visit often and sit out of the porch with them in rocking chairs and talk politics with Mr. Tarver.

He was a treasure chest of information about Augusta politics and he knew where the bodies were. The mayor and the establishment hated him, but Ed knew lots from his days driving a cab. The mayor knew he knew.

One day Mr. Tarver proudly showed me his badge the city police had presented to him. That attempted sting hurt him bad personally. Quite a character. Matt Aitken could have learned lots from him.

Riverman1
87489
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Riverman1 06/04/11 - 01:43 pm
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Countyman said, "In this

Countyman said, "In this article we've both heard ASU should expand towards downtown... ASU has ZERO interest in expanding anywhere downtown... "

Now wait a cotton picking minute I said that. I think it would be a good idea, but I never said ASU was actively planning expansion downtown. Heck, they can't, they don't have any land. Give them land and it could be a different story. I'm convinced it would help rejuvenate downtown Augusta in a big way.

By the way, did you see where Augusta was mentioned in The Street.com? It was negative. The article said cities that are dominated by medical communities and the military were spared the recession, but as government cutbacks begin, they will be hit hardest.

Now let's all hope we don't get any more job cuts than what SRS has already announced. Augusta is our hub.

countyman
20720
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countyman 06/04/11 - 01:50 pm
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ECDanes... Do you mind me

ECDanes... Do you mind me asking what county you live in?? If you do live in RC then what section of the city?

Only 14% of the registered voters in RC actually got the chance to vote.. The vote included a very tiny percentage of democrats and zero republicans or independents.. Obama won RC in the year 2008 with around 66% of the vote... There's still around 34% of republicans/conservatives living in RC..

65% of the people who got a chance to vote didn't vote against the mix-use stadium idea.. They want the city to a have vote if public money is being used to help fund the mix-use project downtown..

Keep in mind this happen in last July when alot of people didn't know hotels, retail, and residential is included..

Riverman1
87489
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Riverman1 06/04/11 - 01:52 pm
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"65% of the people who got a

"65% of the people who got a chance to vote didn't vote against the mix-use stadium idea.. "

You are not saying that clearly.

Riverman1
87489
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Riverman1 06/04/11 - 01:56 pm
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There's no need to worry

There's no need to worry about the county paying for a stadium. There's no money left. It's all tied up with the TEE...smile.

countyman
20720
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countyman 06/04/11 - 02:20 pm
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Riverman1.. Several other

Riverman1.. Several other people mentioned ASU should look at expanding downtown besides you.. The $38 million TEE center was paid for by using local splost dollars.. The city can issue bonds and the use the tax allocation district to help build the mix-use project downtown.....

Don't worry about the local economy in the metro area.. The National Security Agency, Medical District, and Plant Vogtle will make up for any cuts at SRS.. Plus there's billions of dollars and new jobs underway/coming to SRS.. The private investment in Richmond County alone is on another level in 2011..

1. Biotech company Jinfiniti Biosciences LLC opened in the Medical District last year..
2. ADP in June of 2010 announced they're hiring 550(had 450 employees at the time) by the year 2012... They plan to break ground on another facility next door once the current building reaches maximum capacity..
3.. Rural Soucring moved into the Enterprise Mill downtown.. The company is hiring 100 IT professionals..
4. Global Emergency Resources corporate headquarters has about 30-50 employees on Stevens Creek..
5. Private developers are renovating a 200k sq. ft. building on Dixon Airlien rd in South Augusta. The building will become a algae facility in January of 2012. The initial investment is $10 million..
6. Electrolux is spending $3 million to renovate the old Dillards building.. They're hiring 225 full time positions and first and have room to expand..
7. The $25 million Highland Ridge(completed), $100 million Village at Riverwatch(under construction), and the 13 acre Flowing Wells Business park(starts this year) all offer office space..
8. Solo Cup started hiring 72 new manufacturing positions at the end of 2010..
9. York ventures is building a 2 story 30k sq. ft. medical office in the Medical District..
10. Bennett International ($14 million project; close to $23 million if they lease another building in the area) purchased a 437k sq. ft. building on Doug Barnard Pkwy in South Augusta and creating 15 jobs..
11. Convergent invested $3 million into a building on Stevens Creek rd last year.. They're hiring 400 people from the Augusta area...
12. Biotest Pharmaceutical moved into a building on Peach Orchard rd in South Augusta.
13. Kroc Center 110 jobs
14. PCS Nitrogen is constructing a 80k sq. ft. office building and 5k sq. ft. building on the campus in East Augusta.
15. Caraustar moved into a building on Hayes street in Laney Walker and created 15 jobs...
16. RLM Communications opened the first(7,300 sq. ft.) Technology & Cyber Training Center (TCTC) in the CSRA.... The program management office is located in Augusta..

ECDanes
1
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ECDanes 06/04/11 - 02:17 pm
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What the straw poll did say

What the straw poll did say was that 80% of core democratic voters.. those who bother to show up at primaries (which means they are reliable voters) were against this idea. And if any group of people should be in favor of a big tax and spend boondoggle, you'd think it would be democrats.. I mean don't they love this kind of "stimulus" spending. Apparantly not when it comes to the ballpark. BUt there is also a reason why not one commissioner other than Matt Aitken has come out in favor of this.. they understand what the public opinion is within their districts and they know the public opinion is heavily against this. The mayor tried twice to get the commission to approve this and he could not get a single commissioner to support him.. not one.. and this is supposed to be the ever so popular mandate mayor. I know there is a little pep club downtown who may support this.. but they hardly represent the average Augusta voter... if it were up to them, the city would be in debt for billions for all sorts of pie in the sky projects like trolleys, canals through ellis street, etc

allhans
24144
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allhans 06/04/11 - 02:24 pm
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Oh heck. Let's just do it.

Oh heck. Let's just do it. It's only money. (Is our credit good?) AS Obama said, we have to plan for the future. Uh-huh.

ECDanes
1
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ECDanes 06/04/11 - 02:25 pm
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It's funny about the

It's funny about the fictional Hyatt hotel. The so-called developer of that made it sound like he was ready to bring out the shovels and start construction as soon as the TEE Center was passed. Well it's been a year and a half since that happened.. and and still no groundbreaking and he doesn't even have financing for the project. With the way the that hotel was being hyped you would think that they would have secured financing beforehand. BUt I doubt there was ever a hotel. I think it was a straw man to get the TEE passed. Remember the threats made to commissioners that downtown would lose this hotel if they didn't hurry up and pass The TEE and they invoked these deadlines when it had to be done? And here we are a year and half later and these hotel developers have yet to live up to their end of the bargain.

Riverman1
87489
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Riverman1 06/04/11 - 02:31 pm
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"The city can issue bonds and

"The city can issue bonds and the use the tax allocation district to help build the mix-use project downtown....."

Are you seriously proposing this? You would have bonds issued and the same special tax district that pays extra now fund this thing? I do realize the hotel tax is going to pay for the TEE for the next ziillion years.

countyman
20720
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countyman 06/04/11 - 02:50 pm
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How do people know what the

How do people know what the average RC voter is thinking??

Only 14k out of 100k voters actually got the chance to vote... The vote wasn't held during the splost vote or the commission and mayor's elections...

Riverman1
87489
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Riverman1 06/04/11 - 02:36 pm
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Keep in mind, the county is

Keep in mind, the county is $7 million away from balancing the budget THIS YEAR. Fred is doing all he can to keep taxes from increasing. Bonds have to be paid off. Also, remember the TEE is over $100 million when the Laney Walker pay-off is included. It was part of the deal with the black commissioners for the TEE.

scgator
1042
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scgator 06/04/11 - 02:37 pm
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Riverman; I am sure it is a

Riverman; I am sure it is a typo....Ed Tarver was a Senator; and my father-in-law, Jim Tarver was on the last city council before consolidation (5th ward- where the stadium is at)

Riverman1
87489
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Riverman1 06/04/11 - 02:40 pm
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SCGator..of course, Jim

SCGator..of course, Jim Tarver. His daughters gave my mother a Christmas present down at the home. Anyway...thank you.

countyman
20720
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countyman 06/04/11 - 03:26 pm
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The baseball stadium attached

The baseball stadium attached to retail, residential, and hotels sounds much better than the 17 acre vacant lot sitting on prime riverfront property..

Riverman1... They mayor is behind the idea of issuing bonds to build the stadium.. Taxpayer's won't be affected because of the income from the commercial and residential portion and the Tax Allocation District..

The city issued bonds to help MCG demolished Gilbert Manor and build the $112 Dental school(opening soon)on the property..

The $38 million Tee Center is being paid for by using local SPLOST dollars.. The money generated from SPLOST can't be used towards balancing the budget... The $38 million being invested into Laney Walker/Bethlehem over the next 50 years.. The money is coming from the 1 dollar per night hotel tax.. The visitors coming to the city of Augusta are paying for the entire project.. The Laney Walker/Bethlehem redevelopment is by far one of the best things to happen here in Augusta.. William Sankey at Harvard University’s School of Design isn't excited over the Laney Walker/Bethlehem project for nothing..

The majority of voters(not %14 of democratic voters) in RC approved the Tee Center..

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