Develop river area further

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The city of Augusta is about to make another ill-considered and expensive mistake regarding Riverwalk, triggered by the recent attack that injured two people.

The reason for the attack is that Riverwalk has few people using what amounts to an urban park. The area is mostly deserted, particularly at night, because there is no real life down by the river – no restaurants, shops or other activities – and as a result it is attractive to criminals who can prey upon the few people foolish enough to walk down there at night.

A similar situation was solved in New York City when its nine-acre Bryant Park in midtown fell into disrepair and became a haven for the homeless, drug dealers, etc. A private-public corporation was formed that oversaw the restoration and improvement of the park. While owned by the city, it was run by the corporation.

Whereas previously there were only a few homeless pushing shopping carts in the nine acres, now the park was filled with thousands of people enjoying wifi and shopping at many shops, including Starbucks, and crime has now almost disappeared because of the large numbers of people filling the park. The city now is enjoying tax receipts from the many private businesses that have moved there.

As I have noted in previous letters and guest columns, the unnecessary levee that cuts us off from our beautiful river – supposedly to protect us from a flood that never will happen – is preventing economic development of our most important property in the entire CSRA: the enormous amount of land between Reynolds Street and the river from Fifth to 13th streets – land which, if developed, would provide a huge tax base, curtail crime, encourage tourism and be a benefit to the Augusta citizens. U.S. Geological Survey data clearly show the river never is going to flood higher than the base of the existing levee, if even that high.

Please encourage the mayor and Augusta Commission to look into this idea. Let’s turn this expensive mistake into a win-win for all concerned.

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KSL
126422
Points
KSL 05/14/13 - 09:39 pm
1
1
I have stated many times how

I have stated many times how much I pull for Augusta. I just get a little tired of people painting the metro, with Augusta the centerpiece, without any acknowledgement of serious problems that the centerpiece needs to solve.

Old Augusta
292
Points
Old Augusta 05/15/13 - 12:59 am
2
0
The future of the city is the new University

This isn't really even a debate. #1 Get new campus built in the mill canal area. Then get the riff raff out of the Richmond Summit down town and get students into that. Then get the students over to the old golf & gardens. Look, I like to help people as much as anyone, but there's just no precedent for a thriving downtown with soup kitchens around every corner. There's plenty of cheap land up Milledgeville Rd & the Regency Mall area. MOVE THEM!! Then get the Walton Way 15th street cleaned up. Then get the riff raff out of the Bon Air and get students in there. NOW WE ARE GETTING SOMEWHERE! Walton way can start cleaning up from 15th to the Bon Air. Harrisburg can start the gentrification process like what's happened all over Atlanta, Charlotte, & Athens. About 90% of the new students MUST be from out of town just like UGA. Our model should be College of Charleston but bigger and with a medical university to boot. The new students will have money as the academic standards should be on the same level as other tier one research Universities and data shows that students at schools like UGA come with a nice car & Daddys credit card. In other words...they have money to spend. As of now, Augusta has never had that with Paine & ASU. When all these things happen, now we have the mighty MO and soon students decide to stay in Augusta. Soon more local Augusta people want to stay. Soon after gentrification, housing projects at Lake Olmstead to East Boundry start coming down to make room for new development. Now the area around Lake Olmstead becomes a nice place all the way down Broad. Harrisburg is free of riff Raff and now full of young artsy & yuppie types. Now the Canal can get developed down town like the San Antonio River walk which is a real tourist attraction and there could easily be retail, cobblestone, lofts, cruises...In other words A REAL RIVER WALK. WE need to sell ourselves as the cheapest and best way to start a high tech business. Build a high tech incubator. Make it so cheap that people will be forced to check out what the city is offering. Give them free space and pay there utility bills. Do all this and Augusta will bag a HUGE industry like Charleston did with Boeing. Like Mobile AL did with Airbus. This is the game changer. BMW reinvented Greenville. We cannot depend on Ga Power forever. Those reactors will eventually get built and the project will be over. Ditto for SRS. One day, maybe 20 years from now, hopefully Augusta leaders will look back and laugh at how they used to brag about getting a call center. The real big game is out there. The Columbus/Lagrange area just bagged a KIA plant and it's a game changer for them. I've been down there, it's incredible what's coming their way in the next ten years because of that Kia plant. Many businesses that do business with Kia are opening up shop. And about the levee...blow the damn thing up. People are so scared of the hundred year flood, well guess what, a hurricane can whack the coast at anytime, but people are moving to the coast in droves. There is no levee in North Augusta, but yet Hammond Ferry is nicer than anything we have on the Georgia side of the river except River Island in Columbia County and nobody is worried about a flood over there. It's called insurance. Charleston SC got a complete makeover after hurricane Hugo. The best thing that ever happened to Charleston was that storm, because they tore down all the old crap and up went much nicer buildings. The levee is a major downer for our city. Tear it down and let a major architect build a new urbanism style retail/living development that would be similar to Hamonds Ferry, but much more hip & contemporary.

Riverman1
82265
Points
Riverman1 05/15/13 - 10:32 am
2
0
Old Augusta, Powerful Comment

Old Augusta, what a powerful comment. You write like someone I correspond with who knows downtown Augusta better than anyone. That comment was spot on. The colleges are the way to save Augusta. The Wrightsboro Rd extension campus does nothing for downtown.I know the Christenberry Field House is relatively new. What about 20 years old I think? But the next ASU gym should be downtown as the CofC gym in Charleston. Or how about a joint college-city effort for a large arena and ASU moves into D-1(for lack of a better description) basketball?

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