Savannah Riverkeeper hopes to bid on Augusta's waterfront parcel

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.

Savannah Riverkeeper hopes to raise enough money to bid on a riverfront parcel declared surplus by the city of Augusta.

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.

Savannah Riverkeeper planning move to vacant riverfront building
Augusta Commission to discuss possible sale of surplus property
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Sat, 12/03/2016 - 13:13

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