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Vote opens discussion on stadium

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The city inched closer on Tuesday to a possible new stadium-condominium complex home for the Augusta GreenJackets, with the Augusta Commission voting 6-3-1 to "develop a transaction plan, not site specific, relative to the proposed Ripken Multipurpose Stadium."

The vote came at the end of a contentious night that saw Mayor Deke Copenhave casting two unrelated tie-breaking votes and commissioners going behind closed doors for a half-hour to discuss giving general counsel Andrew MacKenzie a vote of no confidence.

The stadium plan, proposed several years ago by Ripken Baseball Group and Copenhaver as a $38.7 million downtown replacement for Lake Olmstead Stadium, lay dormant during the 2010 election year but was revived this month by Commissioners Joe Jackson and Matt Aitken, both of whom voted Tuesday to develop the plan.

The original motion on Tuesday's agenda, to "develop a financial plan" for the stadium, created a concern for Commissioner Corey Johnson, so it was reworded as a "transaction plan," although Johnson joined Commissioners Alvin Mason and Bill Lockett in voting against it.

"To take a look at this costs the city nothing," Copenhaver said, but Commissioner Johnny Hatney, who abstained from the vote, asked how the commission could task its administrator with doing anything "without it costing the city no money."

Mason, despite his "no" vote, reigned victorious, with MacKenzie declaring Mason's June 7 motion to put the question of a new stadium before voters on the 2012 general election ballot as legal, although Georgia law doesn't allow nonbinding straw poll questions on general election ballots.

It did allow last year's straw poll on the Democratic general primary, during which voters soundly rejected the idea of building a new stadium for the GreenJackets, yet asked for a referendum if public money is spent on the former Georgia Golf Hall of Fame.

MacKenzie had opined that appropriate wording could later be developed for the ballot, and "that is not a straw poll question," Mason said. After the meeting, MacKenzie said such binding referenda typically are attached to a bond issue or other funding source.

Commissioner Grady Smith, who initially said, "Let's let Mr. Ripken ... come to town with his package," later joined his colleagues in voting in favor of the city's working with Ripken to develop the package.

The motion left open the question of where the stadium, once proposed downtown at the vacant, state-owned former Georgia Golf Hall of Fame property, would be built.

Sites that Ripken and Jacoby Development has considered are the golf hall site and the city's tax allocation district at River Watch Parkway and Interstate 20, Aitken previously said.

Lockett said that Ripken had proposed the stadium in part to "make baseball available for inner-city kids," while those children wouldn't have access to the tax district, and wished for a Regency Mall location instead. Owners have listed that site's sale price at $52 million.

Comments (91) Add comment
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countyman
21622
Points
countyman 06/21/11 - 07:30 pm
0
0
Augusta should embrace change

Augusta should embrace change and not run away from it.. This isn't build and they will come.. Cal Ripken Jr and Jim Jacoby are already behind the mix-use project...

Watch the 1.5 million figure who visit Augusta annually jump significantly... A year round tourist destination overlooking the savannah river can't wait!

studmuffin1533
305
Points
studmuffin1533 06/21/11 - 07:25 pm
0
0
What part of "No, thanks"

What part of "No, thanks" does the commission not understand?
There are always many vacant seats at the Lake Olmstead stadium games.
I've not talked to a single attendee at LO games who are for a downtown stadium.
Give it a rest, Joe, Matt, Deke & Carl. We don't want it, don't need it and really can't afford it.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 06/21/11 - 07:26 pm
0
0
We need a downtown

We need a downtown stadium!

It will cure cancer.

It will bring world peace.

It will give you eternal joy and peace.

A downtown stadium should be the city's top priority. It is the answer to our prayers. Thank you, Deke, for saving us.

Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 06/21/11 - 07:36 pm
0
0
So if we don't build
Unpublished

So if we don't build it....will they go away?

Riverman1
93233
Points
Riverman1 06/21/11 - 07:37 pm
0
0
Deke had a telling line. He

Deke had a telling line. He said, "Y'all didn't mind giving money to Costco."

Iwannakno
1533
Points
Iwannakno 06/21/11 - 07:42 pm
0
0
Deke has a future with Ripken
Unpublished

Deke has a future with Ripken Baseball!!

countyman
21622
Points
countyman 06/21/11 - 07:44 pm
0
0
I know Augusta continues to

I know Augusta continues to become a better place to live, work, and play improve daily... I mean we lead almost every city in the southeast with probably over 30 national publications in the last 19 to 20 months.. Then the city was recently named one of the top 100 places to live according to Relocate Ameriica.. It's still a huge to deal to have Jim Jacob the developer of Atlantic Station wanting to invest in your downtown...

Of course the usual people who are against everything will say no... They usually don't live in Richmond County either...

The same people already complained about the Augusta Sustainable Development Agenda aka the Richmond County master plan last year when it was completed.. Guess what? The master plan won a 2011 charter award at the Congress on New Urbanism’s meeting in Madison, Wiscosin.. The city got 1.8 million grant earlier from dot to be used on a 4.5 mile strech 15th street/MLK/Deans Bridge Corridor..

curly123053
5343
Points
curly123053 06/21/11 - 07:45 pm
0
0
If they want a better stadium

If they want a better stadium wouldn't it be cheaper to just raze the current stadium at the end of the season and build a bigger and better one on the same site. The sellouts are far and in between to me now. I have been to several games and I have not seen a sellout since the Pirates were the home team.

Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 06/21/11 - 07:48 pm
0
0
Step right up.......pay your
Unpublished

Step right up.......pay your money to the man in the straw hat........see the one, the only.....eighth wonder of the world....the colossal year round tourist destination....single a baseball stadium.....I mean mixed use athletic facility overlooking the Mighty Savannah River. Never mind that when the lock and dam is removed to facilitate harbor deepening the river will be little more than a creek. Au contraire the cheerleader will say…that just gives use more waterfront!

soitgoes
900
Points
soitgoes 06/21/11 - 07:49 pm
0
0
With the TEE Center, new

With the TEE Center, new parking deck and Kroc Center, building a mixed-use, first class facility downtown is another step in the direction of POSITIVE PROGRESS!!! I'm all for it!

countyman
21622
Points
countyman 06/21/11 - 07:54 pm
0
0
Dougk... I have no idea what

Dougk... I have no idea what the final plans will exactly look like... You don't think the baseball stadium, hotels, restaurants, condos, retail shops, on the Riverwalk will be a tourist a destination?

The Riverwalk is a tourist destination with cotton patch, beamies, morris museum of art, cafe 209, port royal, augusta museum of history, mi rancho, and 8th street plaza...

The Greenjackets set another attendance record in the year 2010..
http://www.oursportscentral.com/services/releases/?id=4080373

For the third time in the last five years, the Augusta GreenJackets are set to surpass a franchise record for fan attendance. With sellout crowds expected on both nights of the upcoming Fan Appreciation Weekend, the team should surpass their previous record attendance of 200,222 by Saturday night's home finale.

The new record means many things, but perhaps most importantly it means more people are coming out to the ballpark than ever before in Augusta.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 06/21/11 - 08:01 pm
0
0
I went to see the Atlanta

I went to see the Atlanta Braves on Friday. Unlike the GreenJackets, this is a major league team with a national television audience.

There was great weather, and many, many, many empty seats.

And talk about an anchor for the community. There's not a single business within miles...unless you conisider independent street pharmaceutical sales.

How can the GreenJackets do any better?

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 06/21/11 - 08:03 pm
0
0
Oh, and Deke loves the idea

Oh, and Deke loves the idea of a downtown stadium....

But he wants US to pay for it.

Cal Ripken loves the idea too....

But he wants US to pay for it.

The commission loves the idea....

But it wants US to pay for it.

If it's so great, put your money where your mouth is.
Countyman, will you pay for it?

countyman
21622
Points
countyman 06/21/11 - 08:04 pm
0
0
The article concerning the

The article concerning the 2011 charter award the Richmond County master plan won...
http://www.cnu.org/awards

Of course none of the local media outlets reported the news online or on tv.... Similar to the Relocate America top 100 cities to live in the year 2011.. I guess the Richmond County tribunals or people stealing copper is much more important...

dougk
3
Points
dougk 06/21/11 - 08:13 pm
0
0
Countyman: "Dougk... I have
Unpublished

Countyman: "Dougk... I have no idea what the final plans will exactly look like... You don't think the baseball stadium, hotels, restaurants, condos, retail shops, on the Riverwalk will be a tourist a destination?"

No, I don't. Tourist attraction? Are you serious?? Where about would these tourists be coming from? Have you ever ventured out of Augusta??

Riverman1
93233
Points
Riverman1 06/21/11 - 08:20 pm
0
0
Those who own houses in the

Those who own houses in the county and pay mega taxes don't want this. Lake Olmstead Stadium has great crowds now, is not that old and is nationally recognized as a fantastic stadium. This $35 million will be for what?

Deke says the site now is only weeds and says since we didn't mind giving money for Costco we shouldn't mind putting up some money for this.

Heck, I minded giving money to Costco. So Deke thinks it may have been questionable to give money for Costco, but will use that as an excuse to get money for a stadium?

countyman
21622
Points
countyman 06/21/11 - 08:26 pm
0
0
Insider Information.. Have

Insider Information.. Have you seen the final estimates? How do you what Cal Ripken wants us to pay for?

Dougk: I don't understand your comment concerning the Riverwalk.. The Riverwalk already draws tourist without all of those things.. I'm certain adding those amenties will increase the foot traffic.. The tourist will come Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, etc...

I've ventured to plenty of cities in the united states...

Riverman... How can a person living in Columbia County know what over 200k people in RC want?

Why do people get on here and try to speak for everybody all the time??

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 06/21/11 - 08:25 pm
0
0
a non site specific something
Unpublished

a non site specific something or other but not a financial plan to see what ripken wants us to pay into a new stadium to replace our not full but sturdy and loved stadium in that place that's growing weeds.

Riverman1
93233
Points
Riverman1 06/21/11 - 08:32 pm
0
0
Broad St Narrow, you got it.

Broad St Narrow, you got it. Deke talks about THE SITE growing weeds, but says a site is not determined yet. He doesn't want Fred to discuss finances either. They have this thing planned well. The only vote so far said the people didn't want it, but that doesn't stop Deke Copenhaver-Boardman.

myopinion3
0
Points
myopinion3 06/21/11 - 08:33 pm
0
0
with all due respect to Mr.

with all due respect to Mr. Ripken, let the private sector make his best deal with out Richmond county giving away the store. If he can make a deal and winds up with a stadium down town then more power to him..We are broke yet we are dealing with Pie in the sky commisioners.

Riverman1
93233
Points
Riverman1 06/21/11 - 08:38 pm
0
0
"The tourist(s) will come

"The tourist(s) will come (from) Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, etc."

A family in Florida discusses their vacation and one of them says, "Let's drive to Augusta, Georgia and see a minor league baseball game."

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 06/21/11 - 08:39 pm
0
0
good thing it wasn't those
Unpublished

good thing it wasn't those corrupt commissioners voting for this motion that got changed in wording on the fly to not financial planning and not site specific while the most excited mayor i've ever seen couldn't help blurting the truth while he nagged for yes votes. if it had been those corrupt ones and a corrupt mayor that would have looked really bad. especially right on the heels of that super confusing vote to let us vote that somehow isn't binding. let's watch the tape on that one.

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 06/21/11 - 08:44 pm
0
0
riverman, the family in
Unpublished

riverman, the family in florida are all over coming to augusta ga to see a double a minor league team IF the stadium's on a river.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 06/21/11 - 08:49 pm
0
0
countyman, so are you saying

countyman, so are you saying that this isn't going to cost us, the taxpayers, a penny?

Sweet.

Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 06/21/11 - 08:53 pm
0
0
But what if the stadium is on
Unpublished

But what if the stadium is on a levee next to a mudflat that used to be a river?

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 06/21/11 - 08:54 pm
0
0
Who wants to live in a condo

Who wants to live in a condo attached to a baseball stadium? What next? Apartments attached to train tracks? Hotels attached to airport runways? That alone is telling to the planning of this.

double_standard
166
Points
double_standard 06/21/11 - 08:54 pm
0
0
I find it interesting that

I find it interesting that the chronicle didn't list how each commissioner voted. Are we to think this is the same split that has been occurring for the past few months? If it is I wonder where's the outrage against the commissioners that voted for this but I guess these commissioners are always right and the others are wrong. T.E.A what a joke.

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 06/21/11 - 09:12 pm
0
0
same split as usual.
Unpublished

same split as usual. remember deke calls this his dream team.

Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 06/21/11 - 09:20 pm
0
0
I wonder what the recall
Unpublished

I wonder what the recall process is?

jleyes
24
Points
jleyes 06/21/11 - 09:34 pm
0
0
I love how the AC or Susan

I love how the AC or Susan McCord makes this out as a stadium condo project. Never before has this project been referred to that and anyone who listened to Jim Jacoby/Ripken would know that's clearly not true. I'm not saying condos or a hotel wouldn't be part of it but to label it as such is poor journalism and spin to rile up the 10 or so of you that hate any idea without seeing what it means. I can't wait until Sunday's editorial when the Greenbaums push their Cultural Arts Center as what the tax payers really want.

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