From music jam to traffic jam

Augustans deserve better than snarl at Lake Olmstead concert

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It’s alarming when news coverage about a hot new country-pop act playing Augusta focuses not on the actual concert, but on the venue’s difficulty to accommodate it.

Indeed, the story of Florida Georgia Line’s appearance at Lake Olmstead Stadium on Friday was one of aggravation on the part of an estimated 10,000 fans who had to take shuttle buses to the concert because of traffic congestion and lack of parking at the stadium.

Long lines and congestion delayed many concert-goers who were forced to park on Georgia Regents University property because the 700 stadium parking passes made available by stadium management quickly sold out. Some ticket holders even missed the opening acts.

Lake Olmstead is a fine facility, and it’s more than adequately equipped to handle the crowds drawn by its main user, the Augusta GreenJackets baseball team. However, the facility’s poor egress and landlocked location clearly make it a poor choice to play host to a major concert.

The duo that comprises Florida Georgia Line specifically chose the ballpark because the venue fit the theme of its summer stadium-concert series. Let the Friday night traffic jam serve as a warning to organizers considering similar events in the future.

Such a concert would have posed similar logistical problems had the stadium been along the downtown riverfront, as the GreenJackets’ owners had campaigned to do for years. We didn’t see a need to move the stadium then, and we don’t see the need now.

It certainly would make sense for the stadium owners to expand facility parking by exploring the acquisition of vacant and underused parcels around the stadium, but the larger issue is Augusta’s lack of a modern sports and entertainment complex capable of accommodating events with a regional draw.

Proposals for such a facility were floated more than a decade ago by a group of Augusta businessmen led by the late Frank Lawrence, who owned Bobby Jones Ford and the Augusta Lynx hockey team, and Morris Communications CEO William S. Morris III.

Their concept of a public-private facility along a major expressway in Richmond or Columbia counties failed to gain political traction, and later was shelved. Though interest in a multipurpose venue has waned, the need obviously has not. This past weekend’s concert chaos reaffirms that.

It is tempting for community leaders to point fingers, laying blame or playing the “I told you so” game, but we would rather they focus attention on developing a solution.

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countyman
21626
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countyman 06/17/14 - 12:45 am
2
7
Multipurpose facility

The James Brown Arena should be demolished and replace with a modern multi-purpose facility(private/public partnership) somewhere downtown..

The 2015 Splost package can include the new water park on the south side.. The residents of South Augusta and downtown will both receive new amenities.. Hopefully the water park will open somewhere off I-520 between Peach Orchard and Mike Padgett Hwy..

The 2015 splost must include money for a new park in the Augusta Exchange and the water park in South Augusta.

Riverman1
93371
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Riverman1 06/17/14 - 05:56 am
9
3
RC Build It In Columbia Cty

Richmond County should build an arena up in Columbia County off I-20.

seenitB4
97125
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seenitB4 06/17/14 - 06:39 am
6
0
build an arena up in Columbia County off I-20.

Yep....but be sure & put a 5 Guys & Krispy Kreme nearby...♥

Little Lamb
48908
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Little Lamb 06/17/14 - 06:47 am
10
1
Bonehead

From the editorial:

Lake Olmstead is a fine facility, and it’s more than adequately equipped to handle the crowds drawn by its main user, the Augusta GreenJackets baseball team. However, the facility’s poor egress and landlocked location clearly make it a poor choice to play host to a major concert.

Yeah, it is a poor choice for a major concert. But Augusta has plenty of good choices for major concerts. It was stupid for concert promoters to use Greenjacket stadium for this particular concert. Their boneheaded decision does not provide justification for taxpayers to build a minor-league baseball stadium for a team that is leaving town.

This editorial is just as boneheaded as was the concert promoter’s choice of venue.

dichotomy
37394
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dichotomy 06/17/14 - 07:04 am
8
3
Hold on there. So some group

Hold on there. So some group made a conscious decision to have an event in a facility with limited parking and now the taxpayers need to throw money at a new facility. I don't think so. Bad decisions do not dictate the need for the taxpayers to fund anything. Next time they can have the event in the new facility across the river.

You can throw all of the PRIVATE money at anything you want but there are too many REAL problems in RC that need funding before you throw taxpayer money at any new entertainment/sports facility. We are not Rome and a new Colosseum will not pacify the masses or fix any of our daily problems.

You can use taxpayer money to build a new facility AFTER South Augusta looks more like West Augusta. After Peach Orchard Rd has the same density of businesses and restaurants as Washington Rd. Until then Consolidated Augusta is a failure.

curly123053
5343
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curly123053 06/17/14 - 07:13 am
3
2
Parking ?

From what I gather the folks that comprises this group WANTED to use this stadium as part of their summer stadium concert series. I am sure this was seen as a money making adventure for those agreeing to the concert, despite the hardships to the public. This same concert being held in West End Stadium in Greenville would not cause as much congestion due to the multiple public parking lots and parking facilities nearby. Does Augusta need more public parking facilities ?

thauch12
7066
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thauch12 06/17/14 - 09:32 am
6
0
Bellyaching.

I'm pretty sure this is the first time in a LONG time Augusta has had an act that brought out 10,000 people (not including Masters week of course). And from the amount of bellyaching going on, it may be the last. As someone who was at that concert, it was definitely slightly annoying to have a concert in a facility that is not designed to be a music venue. But with a little planning, forethought, and understanding of the situation, none of the problems warrant the amount of complaining that's been going on. Even if you were a terrible planner, at worst you should have missed the opener (who sucked btw).

And we wonder why so few musical acts come to Augusta...good riddance.

triscuit
3266
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triscuit 06/17/14 - 10:55 am
4
1
This tour by the FL/GA group

This tour by the FL/GA group was a Stadium tour...they are playing in smaller stadium venues. They did not want to play an amphitheater or a Civic Center...it's a stadium tour. That being said, I think they should have cut off ticket sales after the number reached a certain amount. That would only make sense given the bathrooms and all at the stadium, and the parking.

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
11036
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ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 06/17/14 - 11:11 am
3
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Planning

Apparently the person(s) planning the logistics of transporting people to and from the venue had little or no experience or idea about what they were doing. This wasn't like planning transportation for Azziz's family wedding!!!

jimmymac
47431
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jimmymac 06/17/14 - 12:13 pm
0
0
ATTENDANCE
Unpublished

The only time Augusta would have a crown approaching 10,000 is if there was a free turkey give-a-way.

Butterman
3696
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Butterman 06/17/14 - 12:23 pm
1
2
Billy Barn Pitch??
Unpublished

Sorry ACES but the public has already said NO twice to building a Billy Barn for your boss. There would not have been a traffic jam and parking mess if this concert was held at The JB arena, which is capable of handling a concert for 10,000 and has ample surface parking. Why this was held at lake Olmstead stadium, a facility that seats less than 5,000 and and has parking for no more than 700 cars is a mystery.

Butterman
3696
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Butterman 06/17/14 - 12:31 pm
4
0
As others pointed out
Unpublished

if the organizers were so adamant of having this concert in a ballpark (why I will never understand since ballparks are lousy concert venues).. they should have cut off ticket sales at the 6,000 mark or something equivalent to what a sold out Greenjackets game would attract. That facility was never designed to accomodate 10,000 concert goers

itsanotherday1
48199
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itsanotherday1 06/17/14 - 01:46 pm
3
0
Why are y'all throwing rocks

Why are y'all throwing rocks at ACES? They specifically stated that the stadium did not need to move downtown then or NOW.
They also did not lament the defeat of the Billy Barn, only that it never gained traction.

All they said, and I agree, is that this AREA needs a multipurpose sports and entertainment venue.

Butterman
3696
Points
Butterman 06/17/14 - 01:52 pm
3
1
It has the JB arena and The
Unpublished

It has the JB arena and The Bell... the JB could be updated with more seats and better concessions for a heck of a lot less money than building some "new facility" In fact there were suggestions to do this back around 2009 during the TEE Center discussions, but the TEE had to be given to Billy and attached to his hotel. For what was spent on the TEE, The JB could have been expanded and upgraded into a top notch facility... but Billy had to get his TEE center. And I would not be surprised in the least if ACES started making another pitch for The Billy Barn to be included in next year's SPLOST package. Of course that would be one way to guarantee its failure.

allhans
24860
Points
allhans 06/17/14 - 01:53 pm
2
0
There should be plenty of low

There should be plenty of low cost land available for additional parking in that area...

burninater
9921
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burninater 06/17/14 - 01:58 pm
1
0
Multipurpose sports and

Multipurpose sports and entertainment center?

You know what you need to stage a really big concert? Like 50,000+?

A big, wide open, field.

itsanotherday1
48199
Points
itsanotherday1 06/17/14 - 01:59 pm
5
1
Update the JB? Don't make me

Update the JB? Don't make me laugh; that place is so far gone that it is throwing good money after bad. They have all kinds of issues with the foundation from high water table, and as I understand it, have pumps running virtually 24/7 to keep the water out.

Not to mention the most common reason I hear from people as to why they don't patronize events there is because of the LOCATION.

ColCo can build one as far as I care; I will gladly pay a few dollars a year in taxes to have a nice, modern, clean venue not in the middle of the ghetto, that will draw quality entertainment.

Butterman
3696
Points
Butterman 06/17/14 - 02:06 pm
2
1
Colco already has a nice
Unpublished

Colco already has a nice outdoor concert venue and it seems to be working.. As others have pointed out, it does not take much to accomplish this. First get an open piece of land, preferably with a natural slope for an amphitheater effect. Build a state of the art band shell (like the one at Lady A). Have plenty of parking nearby. Locate it near an interstate or major highways for easy access. And most importantly include enough restroom facilities.

Michael Ryan
800
Points
Michael Ryan 06/17/14 - 02:35 pm
3
1
"Sorry ACES but the public

"Sorry ACES but the public has already said NO twice to building a Billy Barn for your boss."

We didn't check with the boss, but we're fairly certain that ship has sailed. But the disparaging term "Billy Barn" reveals a nasty, no-progress streak that keeps nice things from popping up in this town, in my view. There's such a myopic concern that someone else might benefit from something that it never gets done. Sad.

countyman
21626
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countyman 06/17/14 - 03:20 pm
2
6
Hilarious!!!

''Richmond County should build an arena up in Columbia County off I-20.''

This is funny and not even worth a response lol.... Why on earth would the largest county in the metro build an arena in the third largest county? The national developers obviously don't think CC is able to support anything large by itself right now.. That's why the Gander Mountain is a few steps away from Richmond County..

The Philips Arena in downtown Atlanta has no problems attracting events and DT Atlanta is much less desirable compared to the nearby Midtown or Buckhead..

Little Lamb
48908
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Little Lamb 06/17/14 - 02:56 pm
0
2
Nice Things

The sad fact is that those "nice things" that are said to pop up to benefit certain well-connected individuals are paid for by using government to take money by force from every single taxpayer in this town. That, truly, is sad.

Little Lamb
48908
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Little Lamb 06/17/14 - 03:01 pm
3
0
Patience

IAD posted:

All ACES said, and I agree, is that this AREA needs a multipurpose sports and entertainment venue.

Patience, patience, my friends. A multipurpose sports and entertainment venue has been approved to be constructed by Aiken County Commission and the city of North Augusta Council. No further action necessary.

burninater
9921
Points
burninater 06/17/14 - 03:16 pm
5
0
"There's such a myopic

"There's such a myopic concern that someone else might benefit from something that it never gets done. Sad."
---------
100% disagree with that diagnosis.

Paying attention to how local business leaders are able to push projects that lead to public tax dollars falling into private pockets isn't myopia.

Sounds more like 20/20 vision.

Pops
14269
Points
Pops 06/17/14 - 04:16 pm
6
2
"This is funny and not even worth a response lol....

Why on earth would the largest county in the metro build an arena in the third largest county? "

Let's dumb down the answer in a way a hip, misguided, young, entitled person can understand........Columbia County has more income than Richmond County......follow the money

countyman
21626
Points
countyman 06/17/14 - 06:21 pm
1
6
Why didn't more income help

Why didn't more income help attract the outlet mall or Greenjackets?

Gage Creed
19385
Points
Gage Creed 06/17/14 - 06:59 pm
4
1
Why didn't DT Augusta get a

Why didn't DT Augusta get a Mixed Use Facility from the illustroius Jim Jacoby and Cal Ripken?

"The 2015 splost must include money for a new park in the Augusta Exchange and the water park in South Augusta"

Anybody that has even a shred of integrity should keep the person who penned this line far, far away from any position of community leadership or decision making

Little Lamb
48908
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Little Lamb 06/17/14 - 08:24 pm
1
0
Amen

And amen!

Riverman1
93371
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Riverman1 06/17/14 - 08:50 pm
3
0
How Many Basketball Courts Does Augusta Need?

If the goal is to have a facility that fills the seats, a Columbia County one would be best. If it's pretty close to Richmond County and they pay for it, they'll still be able to use it for school graduations and so on.

Speaking of the TEE center, I heard Darryl Leech, the manager of the TEE, on the radio today for a long time talking about the "success" of the TEE. He proudly said they have sporting events there, weddings and so on. Well, doesn't he realize all these "events" could have been held at existing venues without spending millions on the TEE? The hype for the TEE was that it would bring in national and regional events and bring hundreds of millions of dollars into town. I swear they were saying that. Now we have them playing basketball on the banquet rooms' floors. How many basketball courts does Augusta need?

By the way, speaking of Billy Barns, the official name of the hotel there is the Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center.

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