Savannah Riverkeeper hopes to bid on Augusta's waterfront parcel

Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012 6:59 PM
Last updated Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 2:39 AM
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Savannah Riverkeeper hopes to raise enough money to bid on a riverfront parcel declared surplus by the city of Augusta.

Savannah Riverkeeper Director Tonya Bonitatibus wants to move the group's office to a former traffic engineering building sitting on almost 14 acres. The property value has been assessed at nearly $1 million.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/FILE
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/FILE
Savannah Riverkeeper Director Tonya Bonitatibus wants to move the group's office to a former traffic engineering building sitting on almost 14 acres. The property value has been assessed at nearly $1 million.

The 13.89 acres on Prep Phillips Drive, about a mile downstream from the advocacy group’s current office near the Boathouse, include an empty steel building once used as the city’s traffic engineering shop.

Tonya Bonitatibus, the group’s director, said the land is cluttered and possibly contaminated but could be transformed into a recreational treasure for the public to enjoy.

“We would like to make a bid on it, and if we get it, we can clean it up,” she said. The group has removed about 200 tons of trash from the site over six years, she said.

“As a nonprofit, we are uniquely suited to oversee the cleanup, as our status allows us to write federal cleanup grants,” the group said in an appeal for funding. “Millions of dollars in restoration are needed.”

Potential future uses could include a canoe and kayak launch area, river education center, disc golf or even a beach, Boni­ta­tibus said.

The group already was working out plans to use the vacant building as a new office when it turned up among more than a dozen sites offered for sale by the city to generate revenue.

It is among the most valuable properties on the list, assessed at $987,322. Other high-value sites listed include the South Carolina Railroad Co. depot and adjoining land at 511 Reynolds St., assessed at $786,033; and the former Augusta main library at 902 Greene St., assessed at $3.77 million.

The deadline for submitting sealed bids is 11 a.m. Oct. 3.

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Dixieman
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Dixieman 09/14/12 - 04:37 am
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Chronicle in the tank for this group again

When will the AC stop this endless fawning over these job-killers?? Every time Riverkeeper issues a press release the Chronicle sends out a photographer and prints a love note. Research what this group REALLY does -- spends your money on litigation and trying to shut down businesses (like Plant Vogtle). Watermelon group -- green on the outside and red on the inside. Wake up, CSRA!

rebellious
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rebellious 09/14/12 - 08:21 am
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One Thing

I do like about this particular effort is they have not lobbied the County for public money. They are looking for donations from private philanthropists to fund a venture. God Bless their efforts.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 09/14/12 - 08:25 am
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Rebel

Did you party hard last night....:)

rebellious
20127
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rebellious 09/14/12 - 08:40 am
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No Maam

I was a good boy! If you are referring to the 4 extra posts....My computer hiccupped.

I actually got 6 hours of sleep, 1 hour each time 6 times.

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