Put performing arts center on the river

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Regarding the April 27 article "Jacoby wants river real estate": It is imperative that the city of Augusta take a proactive stance to acquire the former Golf Hall of Fame property to build a state-of-the-art performing arts center to assist in strategically grooming Augusta to become a world-class city.

Augusta has long been the mecca of the CSRA and should live up to her calling. A city that seriously wants to advance its prominence and spawn sustained total growth often gives great attention to preserving and advancing the performing arts to help facilitate expansion.

Why? Leading industries often use this as a factor in their prospective location feasibility studies. World-class businesses look for support and presence of the performing arts as a measure to attract and retain professional and critical skills. Educational institutions depend on the performing arts to strengthen and develop the cultural, intellectual and interpersonal capacities of their students, which often leads to a more diverse and tolerant community.

Building a multi-use minor-league baseball field and moving the team from its current location, which is a great one, or developing high-end residential units, incorporating restaurants and retail space only provide limited long-term economic growth for the Augusta community.

We must explore and find ways to attract and welcome the world's communities to Augusta to spawn economic and quality job growth. We can do this with elegance in grand style by erecting an aesthetically appealing performing arts center with several venues.

A state-of-the-art performing arts center could prove to be the best overall use of the riverfront property, because it would serve as the single best catalyst for sustained economic growth and the transformation of Augusta.

Let's challenge ourselves to become a city of excellence by developing Augusta into a premier center for performing arts and entertainment.

William "Gil" Gilyard III

Augusta

Comments (24) Add comment
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willie7
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willie7 05/05/10 - 11:38 pm
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A great idea! We definitely
Unpublished

A great idea! We definitely need a performance arts center and that location would attract many persons from South Carolina.
Northern Kentucky built a performance arts center on the river and attracts thousands from Cincinnati, Ohio.

baronvonreich
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baronvonreich 05/06/10 - 12:50 am
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Let the highest bidder and

Let the highest bidder and eventual owner of the property build whatever they wish. It should not and need not involve government mandates nor use taxpayer money. That is not the proper role of government.

Augusta resident
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Augusta resident 05/06/10 - 01:14 am
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Put a Joe's Crab Shack on the

Put a Joe's Crab Shack on the river. The canal would work too.

ohhsweetconcord
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ohhsweetconcord 05/06/10 - 04:18 am
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baronvonreich, how exactly is

baronvonreich, how exactly is improving the community "not the proper role of government"? Should downtown instead look like Washington Road? I guess a McDonalds would really add to the look and feel of downtown. What a joke your philosophy is.

reader54
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reader54 05/06/10 - 04:43 am
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That dream would quickly turn

That dream would quickly turn into a financial nightmare! Spoken like a true artist.

dashiel
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dashiel 05/06/10 - 07:13 am
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Speaking purely as a

Speaking purely as a philistine and dreamer, I think the property is ideal for a public park; not merely an oasis people could enjoy visiting for free, but also with enough space for allotment gardens. Spiritual growth and civic pride don't have to cost millions. Augusta needs a place to come to because you want to.

jiclemens
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jiclemens 05/06/10 - 08:26 am
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Look at any city in the

Look at any city in the country, large or small and the first stage of renewing tired downtown areas is to put in a performing arts center. The Peace Center in Greenville comes to mind. One struggling theater in Columbia blossomed into an entire arts/fine restaurant district in an area that was once nothing but abandoned warehouses. Bang for the buck comes from ideas that support the diverse interests of those with money to spend, not the singularly focused interest of those who enjoy a hotdog and a baseball game in the same venue, then go back home to the suburbs.

Chillen
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Chillen 05/06/10 - 08:29 am
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I agree with Baron.

I agree with Baron.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 05/06/10 - 08:35 am
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Mr. Gilyard's idea is

Mr. Gilyard's idea is wrong-headed. Augusta already has performing arts centers downtown. The Imperial Theatre is going strong; the James Brown Arena is packing patrons in; and a multi-million dollar infusion of SPLOST money is slated to renovate and restore the Miller Theatre to become the home of the Augusta Symphony (who will also rent the space to others for performances). If an additional performing arts theatre is constructed at the walled fortress at 13th and Reynolds, it would compete destructively with the three other performing arts theatres downtown.

ColaCountyParent
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ColaCountyParent 05/06/10 - 08:37 am
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As a member of the community

As a member of the community theatre family in Augusta, I'm wondering why people keep talking about a performing arts center when we have two viable options that just need renovation. The Miller Theatre and the Imperial Theatre are both beautiful buildings. They are across the street from each other and could be joined with over the street walkways. Why does everything have to be brand new? If you want the local performing arts to grow, we need facilities to rehearse that don't cost a fortune and an area to build and store sets and costumes that is temperature controlled. And BTW, I personally like the Greenjackets stadium where it is and was flabbergasted when I heard that there was talk of moving it. Pretty crazy.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 05/06/10 - 08:37 am
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By the way, if Gilyard runs

By the way, if Gilyard runs for mayor again, I would support him over Copenhaver.

dichotomy
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dichotomy 05/06/10 - 10:13 am
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Ever who buys the property,

Ever who buys the property, with private money, can build anything they want, with private money. Seems to me that a performing arts center has a fairly narrow audience in this area and a new one would only serve to scuttle the existing venues in town. But as long as whatever gets built gets built with private money, it's okay with me. Remember folks, you've still got a TEE center to pay for in addition to the annual blackmail money for very targeted "revitalization". For some reason we folks out here in south Ricmond county are not feeling revitalized and I don't think there is much interest out here in a performing arts center while we pay higher residential taxes on our farm land and vacant acreage and pay our unequal, tripled, garbage collection fees.

garner49
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garner49 05/06/10 - 11:47 am
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Great Idea... When the

Great Idea... When the 'performing arts' can support itself, they can go anywhere they want; until then, stop asking that tax-payers support them.

countyman
20236
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countyman 05/06/10 - 01:03 pm
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The mix-use entertainment

The mix-use entertainment venue will provide greenspace..

The Miller theatre on Broad street got millions in the 2009 approved splost. The theatre is going to be renovated.

I don't agree with building a performing arts center over a mix-use entertainment venue on the GGHF property. But atleast the OP of the editorial is thinking big. Augusta has suffered from small town thinking for years.... Thanks to Deke Copenhaver and other's who understand the second largest metro in GA concept. Some people won't let go of the 70's and 80's. It's the year 2010 and a very diffrent city of Augusta.

Downtown was on the verge of becoming extinct in the 70's and 80's. Most people over the age of 45. They've probably seen a a dead Broad street most of their lives. Luckily when they walk down Broad street in 2010. They notice cute shops, unique stores/restaurants, art galleries, and a vibrant Artist Row.

countyman
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countyman 05/06/10 - 01:10 pm
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We need two water parks in

We need two water parks in South Augusta, South Richmond, city of Hephizbah (the real Hephzibah actually city limits, south of willis foreman rd), Mcbean, or in the city of Blythe...

Tons of empty acres of land....

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 05/06/10 - 01:30 pm
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Water parks don't make money

Water parks don't make money any more. The liability insurance kills you. Besides, the kids just sit on the side of the pool and play video games and text their friends on the other side of the pool.

countyman
20236
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countyman 05/06/10 - 01:54 pm
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I'm not talking about a

I'm not talking about a Krystal River water park. Both of the new water parks should be ALOT bigger. One of them can be huge water park. The other can be the medium size water park. The CSRA is closing in on 700,000 people.

baronvonreich
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baronvonreich 05/06/10 - 04:13 pm
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Sounds like you need to go to

Sounds like you need to go to the bank, get a loan, and build some world class water parks countyman and just sit back and rake in the money.....

SlapShot2
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SlapShot2 05/06/10 - 06:36 pm
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How much tax reveune would a

How much tax reveune would a performing art center generate for the city? Think about that and then ask if that the best use for the property.

bone1
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bone1 05/06/10 - 07:12 pm
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we need a center that

we need a center that broadcasts "american idol" and "survivor" re-runs to the disembrained.

jiclemens
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jiclemens 05/06/10 - 07:20 pm
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I've never been inside the

I've never been inside the Miller so can't comment on whether it would be a suitable venue for 'the performing arts.' I think of symphony, opera and ballet as a meager start for the PA. I see the Miller, and it's specific location as possibly suitable for theater, but I could be wrong. As with other cities, until Augusta gets big enough for its own Opera House and symphony hall, a new performing arts center that shares is the best idea.

Little Lamb
46405
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Little Lamb 05/06/10 - 08:31 pm
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Mr. Clemens, I have never

Mr. Clemens, I have never been inside the Miller Theatre either. But the renovation is a done deal. The taxpayers are donating twelve or fifteen million to Augusta Symphony, and the Symphony has pledged to raise four or five million from private donors. The Miller will become the next Symphony Hall in Augusta, whether people think it's “suitable” or not.

Kitten35
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Kitten35 05/07/10 - 12:10 am
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"When the 'performing arts'

"When the 'performing arts' can support itself, they can go anywhere they want; until then, stop asking that tax-payers support them."

Wow. That attitude pretty much sums up the reason that no one wants to go downtown for entertainment (outside of the well funded and sketchy adult clubs of course, which seem to be disproportionately high. Does my tax money fund that? If so, can I have it back?!?). There isn't any...and if that kind of thought continues to persist, there never will be.

PS: The subject sentence quoted above is not grammatically correct. Just saying.

baronvonreich
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baronvonreich 05/07/10 - 12:11 am
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It is called supply and

It is called supply and demand Kitten35. Much "entertainment" downtown hasn't been sustainable and if there was such a demand for "entertainment" then it would be available.

Kitten35
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Kitten35 05/07/10 - 09:41 am
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Baron Von Reich, Actually,

Baron Von Reich,
Actually, it's only supply and demand in this particular, small minded "city." Any actual city that retains residents, promotes growth, keeps tourists coming, etc, has a fine arts center that is funded by the people (and many times, started by them because they WANT it). The only reason poplulation here is what it is is because of the military base. If that were not here, no one would voluntarily relocate here, I would imagine.

There are many people in Augusta who would like and would benefit from a small center for the arts. After all...what kind of advertising are we doing when we claim "Artist's row" is one of our "major tourist attractions (if anything here counts as a tourist attraction)"...and then fail to put our money where our mouth is?!?

But the "powers that be" somehow think having some wedges and woods for a week is enough to make this city "great" and are living in the past....way in the past. Move on, people. They are most likely spending all their money in the strip clubs watching women who would NEVER be with them in real life and drinking booze (what's it called? Vegas Girls? Vegas is in Nevada, folks) and probably spending mine too. It's so sad. There is so much potential here to clean up downtown and make it a fun, artsy, clean place, but no one will. Hence, people keep moving out. Why then are we surprised or offended when people call it "Disgusta?"

The problem with Augusta: the attitude like the above and the people who 'nay say' to any kind of progress, who somehow think that "just livin the redneck life" is enough to make people want to join them.

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