Panel eyes stadium plan again

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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