Public hearing seeks input on future uses for vacant Sibley Mill

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Sibley Mill, with 518,000 square feet of floor space and property that fronts on both the Augusta Canal and the Savannah River, has potential but no formal plan.

The Augusta Canal Authority has scheduled a public hearing from 6 to 7 p.m. Monday to seek input on redevelopment options for Sibley Mill.  FILE/STAFF
FILE/STAFF
The Augusta Canal Authority has scheduled a public hearing from 6 to 7 p.m. Monday to seek input on redevelopment options for Sibley Mill.

That’s why the Augusta Canal Authority has scheduled a public hearing from 6 to 7 p.m. Monday to seek input on redevelopment options for the vacant landmark.

The meeting will be at the Enterprise Mill’s Cotton Room classroom, 1450 Greene St., next to Fat Man’s Mill Cafe.

The canal authority bought the mill last year from Avondale Mills and has undertaken $180,000 in cleanup projects that included removal of mercury from a boiler room and the dismantling of metal chemical storage tanks.

Ideas discussed in the past have been residential, professional and commercial redevelopment – or a combination.

The site is important because of its Civil War history as the site of the Confederate Powderworks, and also because of its location within the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area and proximity to the Salvation Army Kroc Center, which is just across the canal.

It also has its own revenue-producing hydropower turbines.

The parcel on which the mill sits also includes frontage on the Savannah River. A developer who once had the site under contract in 2007 had discussed a residential complex that could include a tunnel under River Watch Parkway to allow residents to visit the river.

Although the mill is stable, additional cleanup projects are needed to make it “redevelopment ready,” according to canal authority officials, who plan to apply for a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields grant to fund the next phase of environmental cleanup.

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Little Lamb
45282
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Little Lamb 11/15/11 - 12:27 pm
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More crony capitalism.

More crony capitalism. Governments just can't stand the notion of free markets.

Little Lamb
45282
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Little Lamb 11/15/11 - 12:29 pm
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How about a baseball stadium

How about a baseball stadium on the site?

Chillen
17
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Chillen 11/15/11 - 01:46 pm
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Sell it to a private

Sell it to a private developer. Take the proceeds and pay down public debt or reduce residents taxes. DO NOT spend the proceeds on something else.

The private developer should put in gated/high security condominiums.

Little Lamb
45282
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Little Lamb 11/15/11 - 01:54 pm
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How about a garden with

How about a garden with different varieties of azaleas and a building housing the Georgia Farmers Hall of Fame, surrounded by a serpentine brick wall?

floridasun
310
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floridasun 11/15/11 - 02:42 pm
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How about something along the

How about something along the lines of the Enterprise Mill restoration which has been very successful
This is an amazing building that is unique to Augusta.
Hope to see it adaptively reused

Little Lamb
45282
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Little Lamb 11/15/11 - 03:32 pm
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How about tearing down the

How about tearing down the decrepit mill buildings and create an Augusta Zoo? We should not have polar bears, though. The hot Augusta summers would be cruel for them.

floridasun
310
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floridasun 11/15/11 - 03:58 pm
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why all the negativity Little

why all the negativity Little Lamb?

Little Lamb
45282
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Little Lamb 11/15/11 - 04:22 pm
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Sibley Mill was an active

Sibley Mill was an active business until just three or four years ago when the city pulled their permit to use water from the canal. They had workers at the site and were generating electicity wholesale for Ga. Power & SCE&G. Obviously they had to sell under duress with the loss of their permits. Now the canal authority has been sitting on the property (free of property taxes, of course) while poking along with the "clean-up."

Now that the government is going to pick the winners and the losers again, they try to fool us that the public might have some sort of input to which crony gets the gravy.

The free market would be more moral.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 11/15/11 - 04:30 pm
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Here is a link to one of the

Here is a link to one of the many stories about this corruption.

cityman
-6
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cityman 11/15/11 - 04:32 pm
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Upscale housing.
Unpublished

Upscale housing.

Little Lamb
45282
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Little Lamb 11/15/11 - 04:38 pm
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I'm sure GaZoo (GHSU) would

I'm sure GaZoo (GHSU) would buy it for a research lab and bio-tech business incubator if they weren't siphoning so much money away for the Athens medical campus.

doubt_it
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doubt_it 11/15/11 - 06:07 pm
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Little Lamb is more than a

Little Lamb is more than a little wrong. The city didn't pull any water permits from anyone. The reality is that the canal cannot and does not operate at 100% capacity 100% of the time. Therefore it stands to reason that when water capacity is reduced via drought, maintenance, or the Corps, the city has the obligation (and the right) to reduce water use as they see fit from the current users. And the Canal Authority purchased the property on the free market with any other buyers able to compete freely. You should have made an offer! And the cleanup has started, which is much more than can be said for nearly all other contaminated properties in the Garden City!

Little Lamb
45282
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Little Lamb 11/15/11 - 06:46 pm
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From the link posted

From the link posted above:

The city of Augusta, in efforts to cope with reduced flows in the drought-stricken Savannah River, filed suit against Avondale last month, asking Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet to order Avondale to cease withdrawing canal water.

Okay, technically it may not be a permit, but when a judge agrees with you and orders Avondale to cease and desist (which he later did), the effect is the same.

corgimom
31150
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corgimom 11/15/11 - 08:04 pm
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What is so super-terrific is

What is so super-terrific is that TAXPAYER MONEY is being spent to clean up a contaminated property, that was purchased with TAXPAYER MONEY-(but was contaminated by a private enterprise), so that the cleaned-up property can be resold to another private enterprise, for them to make money- and all that TAXPAYER MONEY will never be repaid- as in "thrown away money".

Little Lamb
45282
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Little Lamb 11/16/11 - 09:17 am
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Excellent questions,

Excellent questions, Corgimom.

We've set a terrible precedent here at Sibley Mill and will soon be going down a similar road with the Hyde Park detention pond boondoggle. When the dust settles on those hideous projects, can Regency Mall be far behind?

David Parker
7923
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David Parker 11/22/11 - 09:42 am
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Anybody go to this meeting?

Anybody go to this meeting? Interested what proposals were discussed?

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