Downtown is a 'cesspool'

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Downtown Augusta is a decaying, filthy and lawless place. I say this with respect to the many fine proprietors there.

The absence of law enforcement, even during the day, is alarming. I see this often, on weekends especially. My family, friends and I would not be caught downtown after dark. A cop on a bicycle is hardly a deterrent. It is almost like law enforcement leadership in Richmond County has surrendered to the bad elements.

Overflowing trash cans and the stench of decaying buildings are almost overwhelming. Sidewalks and streets are in disrepair. Below-street-level parking areas are havens for criminals to prey on the unsuspecting. Also, certain people who are attracted to the city
defiantly urinate or defecate in public places without being challenged, arrested or run out of town.

Downtown Augusta is nowhere near being “cool,” as Georgia Health Sciences University President Ricardo Azziz seeks. This often-criticized man has a vision for what Augusta should be, befitting a major teaching hospital. If Augusta cannot be made “cool,” then “cool” will be found elsewhere. There is no guarantee that this prestigious teaching hospital will remain in Augusta in its current form.

Moreover, the historically racially divided Augusta Commission and bad policing will certainly erode, if it has not already, the image and prosperity of this city. Sadly, events such as the gay pride parade are ill-advised, too.

It is not the job of downtown proprietors to do anything but provide services, whether in a restaurant or a shop. They already pay enough taxes, I imagine, to count on this. The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office’s job is to protect everyone, all day long, no matter what. Further, the commission’s job is the same. Otherwise, downtown will be only a place of vagrants, seedy bars, tattoo parlors and strip joints – in general, a cesspool. Criminals will reign the day.

Clean it up – or “cool” will be sought elsewhere.

Alex Cawthon

Thomson

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omnomnom
3964
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omnomnom 07/21/12 - 06:10 am
7
1
one of the best suggestions

one of the best suggestions i've heard for revitalizing downtown...

regency inn at the end of broad being turned into student dorms.

students have money, students are a bit more adventurous in sketch areas than whitebread suburbanites, students will patronize downtown businesses daily.

all at a fraction of the cost of the Riverfront Convention Center
(oh man i hope paul simon's lackey doesnt send me a letter demanding me to call it the marriot's moneypit or whatever he wanted)

seenitB4
85392
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seenitB4 07/21/12 - 06:15 am
3
2
Yeh ...you are right

I will take a lot of work & money to make it cool....& a ballpark won't do it....
I hope the good will triump though...one day....just like South Augusta can rise again....I see it happening...:)

seenitB4
85392
Points
seenitB4 07/21/12 - 06:17 am
3
2
omnon said

students have money, students are a bit more adventurous in sketch areas than whitebread suburbanites, students will patronize downtown businesses daily.

I 100% agree with that!

catfish20
250
Points
catfish20 07/21/12 - 07:33 am
6
0
Dorms downtown would be

Dorms downtown would be great. Look what SCAD has done for downtown Savannah...students are everywhere. I think the Richmond Hotel would make a nice dorm but you would have to relocate the current occupants and do some remodeling. It is doable. Maybe then Bonnie Ruben would clean up her stores on Broad St.

I also like to eat at the numerous restaurants downtown.

Gage Creed
16740
Points
Gage Creed 07/21/12 - 07:36 am
4
4
Reality...what a concept! I

Reality...what a concept! I guess the fact those "whitebread suburbanites" are forced into footing the bill for those adventurous students is just a minor inconvenience eh?

nevertoolate
291
Points
nevertoolate 07/21/12 - 08:19 am
10
1
Dinner on the sidewalk

My fiance and I had dinner at a popular downtown restaurant last weekend and chose the outdoor seating that was located on the sidewalk on Broad St. I have to admit it was a nice evening and the weather was cooperative, but everytime I saw a shadowy figure on the sidewalk heading our way, I worried about my safety.

Willow Bailey
20580
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Willow Bailey 07/21/12 - 09:28 am
9
2
There is nothing for the

There is nothing for the suburbanites to come downtown for as most of us are not interested in getting a tatoo, occuping a barstool or stripping, even in the proposed new upscale strip shop.

I think most of us with a shred of common sense realize that the combined universities are the best hope for revitalizing Broad. There's no economical reason for major retail to reestablish in the area.

I suggest that the local government proceed with filing a suit of condemnation/eminent domain on some of the most problematic properties and gift them to MCG/ASU and other supporting enterprises. Blaming Ronnie Strength for this mess is ignorance at best.

omnomnom
3964
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omnomnom 07/21/12 - 09:23 am
4
2
Gage Creed

Well, we can either gamble taxpayer dollars with Augusta Tomorrow's brilliant ideas which... haven't really paid out so far (Golf and Gardens =epic fail, Augusta Riverwalk=spawned very limited economic development save for a taxpayer subsidized hotel, Augusta Common=nice greenspace, but thats about it, Fort Discovery=wonderful idea, wonderful opening, fell into disrepair, springfield village park=poorly designed park used by skaters and people to sober up; graced by "sculptures" made by artist with no connectionto augusta or springfield baptist church...that should be taken to the scrap yard). Or we can consider a model thats working just two hours away from us and whose economic burden could be spread across Georgia.

eb97
835
Points
eb97 07/21/12 - 09:24 am
9
0
Our city government needs to

Our city government needs to insure that we have plenty of police coverage downtown at all times so the people will come back because they feel safe. I remember when I was a teen, there were plenty of foot policemen downtown and we did not have near the population or crime back then, so what has happened to that police protection we had in the 60's and 70's ?

jic
352
Points
jic 07/21/12 - 09:52 am
2
9
Giuliani did not "clean up"
Unpublished

Giuliani did not "clean up" New York city with a gang of bully cops with big sticks. City managers have to figure out how so many big cities like San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago and New York keep their urban areas safe and exciting to live in. Sorry, but Oakland is an example of what everyone proposes for Augusta and it doesn't work. Armed militias resisting gangs only escalates the violence.

allhans
23538
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allhans 07/21/12 - 10:01 am
3
1
Student dorms downtown?. Not

Student dorms downtown?. Not my kids!

Lori Davis
905
Points
Lori Davis 07/21/12 - 10:32 am
12
0
The DDA put in a program 5

The DDA put in a program 5 years ago and sold it as public safety. Downtown property owners pay an extra tax to have this. It is called CADI; Clean Augusta Downtown Initiative. They take in over $350,000 in extra taxes a year., to employ 8; $10 an hour employees to basically pick up trash. The Ordinance that put it in place described it as primarily Public Safety. The ordinance states that there would be paid police officers on Friday and Saturday nights through this program. THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED, NOR MOST OF THE OTHER THINGS STATED IN THE ORDINANCE. In other words, it was an outright lie, to get the owners to sign the petition. Defund the DDA and send the director packing! This tax will be voted on again this year. Wise up owners and vote no unless the money is used for 100% public safety. Demand it! Downtown does not need this kind of money for a glorified trash pick up service. Let your Commissioners know of your disgust. They will be deciding the future of the Downtown Development Authority who I blame totally.

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 07/21/12 - 11:44 am
5
0
Good post, Lori. If anyone

Good post, Lori. If anyone knows what's going on DT, it's you. If anyone cares about what's going on DT, it's you. Best of luck to you in the upcoming election. May people who truly desire the best for Augusta cast their vote for you.

itsanotherday1
42042
Points
itsanotherday1 07/21/12 - 11:44 am
3
0
Let me start off by saying I

Let me start off by saying I am basically ignorant on the ARC budget, what could be cut, and so on. I am interested to hear from someone who IS versed, on how additional Law Enforcement could be funded.

Also, someone mentioned other models that Augusta could/should try to duplicate in order to resuscitate downtown. Do you have an outline or details?

Conservative Man
5435
Points
Conservative Man 07/21/12 - 12:57 pm
6
0
To itsanother

See Lori Davis' post above. She doesn't specifically address budget issues but getting this tax money to be used for it's original purpose is a start....

Gage Creed
16740
Points
Gage Creed 07/21/12 - 01:30 pm
4
0
Omnomnom...Most all of your

Omnomnom...Most all of your 0923 post is spot on...what I am not understanding is how placing (600?) students in a dorm setting on the 400 block of Broad Street is going to fix any of the things you mentioned in your post? Do you not think the majority of these students live in Olde Town and the Hill area already?
We have posters that swear that all of the cool, hip, and trendy people already frequent the CBD…so what would they want from us “whitebread suburbanites” anyway (aside from our tax dollars)?

bushwhacker
39
Points
bushwhacker 07/21/12 - 02:35 pm
0
4
thomsom

thomsom ? have you seen it? and you're worried about Augusta?

madgerman
236
Points
madgerman 07/21/12 - 03:14 pm
0
0
I am sorry but, if the police
Unpublished

I am sorry but, if the police can't or won't do anything, maybe armed militia is the answer. P.S. why are less than 50 percent of the police force dedicated to neighborhood patrolling? Why does it take so many police to watch people in jail cells? And why are the jails located in prime realestate areas instead at the county line? And lastly why aren't we hot seating patrol cars and using the savings for officers?

bgthompson4
24
Points
bgthompson4 07/21/12 - 03:30 pm
3
1
I use to love downtown Augusta

I worked in downtown Augusta in the '70's, '80's, and some years later. I have watched it change, watched them trying to do something with it to no avail. Watched them build the park on the river, which I would eat my lunch there and read a book. I sure wouldn't now. I haven't been in downtown Augusta at night since the '80's and I certainly wouldn't go now. My thought is follow what they did in old westerns when something is going on. As people come into town take all weapons and return them as they leave. If they do not want to turn over weapons, they don't enter the downtown area for what ever is going on. May or may not help I don't know, but it's a thought.

augusta citizen
9111
Points
augusta citizen 07/21/12 - 04:02 pm
5
0
Sad but true...

It is a shame that downtown is the way it is. This morning I drove to Aiken to go to the Farmer's Market there. Wasn't looking for a one hour round trip drive, but no way was I going to downtown Augusta for my produce.

CobaltGeorge
155319
Points
CobaltGeorge 07/21/12 - 04:33 pm
3
1
Mr. Cawthon

and some of you posters sure as all heck are Urinating countyman off. God help you all!

CobaltGeorge
155319
Points
CobaltGeorge 07/21/12 - 04:33 pm
0
2
.

.

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 07/21/12 - 06:11 pm
3
0
Augusta citizen, the Market

Augusta citizen, the Market on David Rd is not bad. The one in Greensboro is even better, though. Went to Aiken's last year and was disappointed. How was it this year?

dstewartsr
20389
Points
dstewartsr 07/21/12 - 06:52 pm
3
1
I really laughed until I realized

"...As people come into town take all weapons and return them as they leave," was meant to be serious. And what else, hang our watches, wallets, keys and jewelry on velcro to make being robbed a less traumatic experience?

scgator
1042
Points
scgator 07/21/12 - 07:18 pm
7
0
I go to the movies, I like

I go to the movies, I like buffet resteraunts, I like libraries and book stores, I like "close proximity" parking (not two blocks away), I like well lit areas at night, what is there downtown to attract anyone unless they want to "surf" the bars and clubs ????? Now, I am not against the bars or clubs, but you cannot pour "buckets of taxpayer money" into revitalizing downtown without providing the things that would make people want to come back downtown; I simply do not believe that a majority of the people are staying away just because of current issues; I believe they stay away because there is no "real" attraction for them downtown. If you want to sit around and drink the night away......it's your place !!!......................just sayin'

countyman
19719
Points
countyman 07/21/12 - 07:25 pm
0
5
Downtown Augusta is behind

Downtown Augusta is behind some peer cities(Chattanooga, Greenville, Savanah, Knoxville, etc) but it's not the area described in the editorial... The crime stats released by the sheriff show the facts. I don't know what's considered downtown in the writers mind, but the CBD is the main area.. Why do people continue to flock downtown? The Whites Building has sold ten condos since the opening in April... The Regency Inn can't become dorms, because it's turning into an Holiday Inn Express... Plenty of residents come out every Sunday night to the Candlelight Jazz on the Riverwalk.... Thousands of people just attended the July 4th celebration downtown all the way past 12 am... It's funny the person from GQ Magazine who featured downtown Augusta in the article found something intresting on Broad street(Frog Hollow)... Let's see the responses when Sprint Food & Metro Market finally opens at 851 Broad(underway).. There's nothing similar to open air seating, 1st floor urban market: restaurant/convenience store, and 2nd floor Sprint Food corporate offices and space for other tenants...

Since downtown is this decaying, fility, lawless place.. Answer the following questions should be very easy then..

Why is the CBD richer than the majority of areas in the metro & CSRA?
Why are they building new residential all over?
Why is the population of the CBD continuing to grow?
Why is there more private construction now downtown than in decades?
How many areas in the CSRA have more ongoing/future private construction than downtown?
What other area in the CSRA could attract high paying IT jobs similar to downtown?
What peice of real estate outside of the CBD is more attractive to major developers compared to the 17 acre GGHF site?
Why are residents paying $150k for a studio in the CBD at the Whites Building?
Why is it so hard to find an vacant residency at Enterprise Mill?

Riverman1
82266
Points
Riverman1 07/21/12 - 07:56 pm
2
0
Careful with how you expand

Careful with how you expand the schools downtown. It should be done by keeping things close together as possible although things don't have to be contiguous. A hopscotch approach works well. Putting students in the Regency Motel would be a big jump and inconvenince them. UA should begin by building new dorms, administrative buildings and on closer to the main campus. The Wrightsboro Rd dorms were a bad idea from the start. That area should be for athletic facilities only, but I can even see them playing games in the JB Arena now and then if they go D-1. I think Dr. Azziz has the right idea about the GGHOF property that's not too far from the med school being perfect for med student housing with a few businesses. That could be beautiful and bring hundreds of quality residents to town.

countyman
19719
Points
countyman 07/21/12 - 08:07 pm
0
3
I don't remember anybody

I don't remember anybody being allowed to write something positive about downtown in an entire article before.. This is similar to another editorial being printed first who diagreed with Augusta being named the 7th best place to live, and 8th best place to retire... The article on the ranking was finally printed a few days later... I notice we didn't see any editorial printed who didn't agree with the Martinez ranking.. I don't have a problem with the editorial above, but we should allow other's to respond who think highly of downtown...

Things to do? Candlelight Jazz, Market on the River, Westobou, Arts in the Heart, La Chat Noir, Book Tavern, art galleries, Imperial theatre, soon to be renovated Miller, Morris Museum or Art, Augusta Museum of History, boat rides on the canal, etc...

There's a brand new library on 9th street, several restaurants, and book stores downtown..

If the residents in the area really want to have something really major in the CBD... Jim Jacoby wants to build a mixed use development on the GGHF property...

We need a large urban park with bridges & waterfalls, additional cops on bikes/foot patrol, the security cameras proposed before, extended Riverwalk into East Augusta, additional lighting, increased weekly events at the Common/Riverwalk/Jessye Norman amphitheater/8th street plaza, daily food trucks/street vendors/live musicians daily, and one large retailer to start things off...

countyman
19719
Points
countyman 07/21/12 - 08:11 pm
0
2
I don't remember anybody

multiple post.

augusta citizen
9111
Points
augusta citizen 07/21/12 - 08:27 pm
4
0
Answer to Willow

Hi Willow, I love the produce market on Davis Rd., go there frequently, Good Earth, I believe is the name. The folks there are fantastic, just sometimes, they don't have everything I'm looking for. I don't go up to Greensboro, but daughter was just there recently at Reynolds/Ritz but she's a teen, so I didn't get any feedback on farmers markets, LOL. The Aiken farmer's market was bustling this morning. Produce, grass fed beef, local honey, homemade soaps, feta cheese, you name it. It's small but very homey and good people there. It's worth the drive, but then Aiken usually is.

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