Spruce up downtown first

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Maintenance is a necessity, and its cost must be built into every project in a city. As The Augusta Chronicle’s June 18 editorial points out (“Parsing the veranda plan”), the beautiful Riverwalk has not been maintained, and let us not mention the costly and now failed Golf and Gardens project.

Now Augusta Commissioner Marion Williams proposes to cover some of the few existing parking spaces on Broad Street with a veranda, necessitating additional lighting and surveillance underneath. Also he wants to remove existing trees and shrubbery to create what looks like a plaza to create a frame for the small statue of James Brown, which then would require additional new plantings of other trees and bushes. What makes us think this would be any different?

I’m not familiar with the 2009 Master Plan, but if he wants to create a green space, allow me to point out that we already have existing green space in the form of the beautiful old trees shading the sidewalks of Broad Street. No, wait! In many places the sidewalks are neither pedestrian- nor handicapped-accessible.

Would it make sense to take the $3 million now proposed for the veranda/parking project and address the overall enhancement of the existing walking areas? Benches placed along the newly smoothed sidewalks would then allow everybody, including the elderly and handicapped, access to sit and enjoy the life of Augusta. One could even visit the stores without chancing a sprained ankle.

And, if funds for maintenance allow further enhancements, it could begin with the removal of dirt and trash, weeds and grass along the streets, so that Augusta, instead of looking like a “Garbage City,” would indeed fit the name “Garden City.”

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Riverman1
84118
Points
Riverman1 07/01/13 - 08:07 am
7
1
Problem With Well-intentioned Measures

There’s a philosophical problem with well-intentioned measures such as building a veranda on Broad St. It’s the same problem that leads to other even most costly boondoggles such as the TEE Center. It’s trying to create an attraction to bring people into an area without addressing the underlying availability of desirable businesses, beauty, safety and cleanliness of the area. It reminds me of the UFO replica the guy made in Bowman, SC out of plywood that sits on main street to attract UFO’s from other worlds. He’s still waiting.

seenitB4
87358
Points
seenitB4 07/01/13 - 08:57 am
3
0
Dang I didn't know

A UFO replica in Bowman....dang, why didn't someone tell me...:)

Riverman1
84118
Points
Riverman1 07/01/13 - 09:05 am
2
1
Bowman UFO

http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/1158

Scroll down to see all the photos. This guy is related to me by the way. Heh.

seenitB4
87358
Points
seenitB4 07/01/13 - 09:27 am
2
0
Your kin..hah

Now it all adds up....hahah

Let me see if I can find my tin foil cap....I need to mosey on down that way....nice article btw. :)

itsanotherday1
43301
Points
itsanotherday1 07/01/13 - 09:30 am
4
0
Hear! Hear! to the letter

Hear! Hear! to the letter writer. Build all you want, but unless the area is clean, safe, and inviting; it is money down a rat hole. Give Broad Street a facelift before spending one dime on additions.
Anything else would be like someone spending $10,000 on landscaping when the paint is peeling off the siding.

dichotomy
33026
Points
dichotomy 07/01/13 - 11:14 am
1
1
From South Richmond County, I

From South Richmond County, I just don't see much Return On Investment (ROI) from the hundreds of millions of dollars we have been dumping downtown. I guess we have a small number of "urbanites" who have bought some apartments downtown, and we have a bunch of small restaurants and bars that seem to come and go about as frequently as most people change their underwear.

From my perspective in the southeast end of District 8, I think Marion should be laughed out of town for even suggesting a multi-million dollar veranda on Broad St., but that's just my personal, TAX PAYING citizen opinion.

The only thing I see is that we keep going deeper and deeper in debt trying to make something happen that may, or may not, ever happen. They one thing that will happen for sure is that SOMEBODY has to pay off that debt. The city budget is in a deficit, the RCBOE has just raised our taxes again that they are still in a deficit. We are pretty much at the top end of allowed property taxes and the property valuations are already skewed to the high side, particularly in SOME discriminated against areas. Our fees for municipal garbage service are already DOUBLE what they should be. And we are already paying 8% Sales Taxes on top of all of the other taxes and fees our benevolent government has decided to confiscate from us.

And yet we still have a kook of a commissioner bringing forward a proposal for a multi-million dollar veranda on Broad St. It does not serve any needed function, does not solve any problems, and serves no purpose other than having "bragging rights" to say "hey we've got a veranda on Broad St". And what's worse, we actually have other commissioners and local "leaders" who are taking it seriously. I think they have ALL lost their freaking minds.

Has anyone seen a recommendation for a veranda in ALL of these useless 1/2 million dollar studies the taxpayers have paid for? NO. Do some of our commissioners go home at night and try to dream up ways to spend MORE of our money? They must. We've sure paid for a lot of crap projects that haven't done diddly squat for most of RC. Have you EVER seen any of our DOWNTOWN commissioners come up with a way to SAVE THE TAXPAYERS MONEY? NO!!!!!

I am aware that South Augusta is about to be blessed with $800,000 worth of cheap, subsidized rental houses which I am sure that the "City" will fill with some of their finest, but somehow that hasn't made a tingle run down my leg either. You can put that right up there with the Marion Williams Memorial Veranda on my enthusiasm scale.

tom31510
312
Points
tom31510 07/01/13 - 12:13 pm
2
0
Maintenance downtown & River-walk

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has seen city employees & trucks parked on the River-walk with the lone driver sitting in the shade reading his Bible for hours. The only time you see work is when there's a supervisor around. Like so many municipalities, once a new employee gets a job, those already on the payroll let it be known right away not to do too much as it will make the rest look lazy. I worked for a private company that did downtown landscape maintenance for the city of Macon, the city saved money, we made money & downtown looked much better than when city employees had been doing it. Our guys were paid better & worked more efficiently. The same company did the installation of the landscaping & first year's maintenance at the botanical garden & Golf Hall of Fame. Once the city took over maintenance you see what happened. The city can't run their own landscape maintenance, bus service or garbage collection; but, due to their collective egos won't give private organizations a chance to fix the problems. They remind me of the committee tasked with making a horse, when they finished they had created a camel. They've blamed everyone but George Bush for the city's shortcomings.

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 07/01/13 - 12:33 pm
1
3
Downtown

The Veranda is a great idea, and you have to be visionary. The development would quickly improve the area in terms of beauty.

If we focus on the private development the CBD is more desirable compared to Martinez lately.

The citizens of Richmond County voted for the Tee Center, and every successful city has one. The facility continues to bring in thousands of new people and millions of dollars. The developer of the $8 million Holiday Inn Express said the Tee Center is the main reason for the new hotel.

There's already millions of dollars going towards the cosmetics in terms of TSplost.

Downtown is already the attraction for the 1.5 million tourist coming to Richmond County every year.

The facts don't lie in terms of private construction. Please name all these areas with some much construction versus downtown? Rural Sourcing for example is 100 IT jobs and Southpoint Media just opened.

Dichotomy.. Please ride through Diamond Lakes sometime. The city is building camp grounds and completed the outdoor basketball courts. This is after spending millions of dollars in the past. This is only one of many taxpayer projects in South Augusta. What does this park do for West Augusta, Summerville, etc?

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 07/01/13 - 12:38 pm
1
4
Facts

How can you spin this? If this was any other area in the CSRA. The usual people and media would be hyping it daily.

The DDA report from June includes the proposed hotel on the common. The Hyatt Place hotel/parking garage may finally becoming to fruition. The Holiday Inn Express is under construction on Lower Broad near Olde Town, and this would be the second hotel to break ground. Both the CBD and the urban core are growing much faster in 2013 compared to previous years. The report didn't mention several other projects including the purchase of the massive historic building at 301 9th street.

http://www.myaugustadowntown.com/min...ors-Report.pdf

Information on a few of the developments in the report.
1. 1246 Broad( new apartments)
2. 901 Broad(nine apartments and 4,300 square feet of commercial space)
3. 1022 Broad(new residential above Pauleys Steakhouse)
4. 758 Broad(green improvements after 13 apts completed last year)
5. 1301 Broad(Augusta Lung Associates/2nd floor other tenants)
6. James Brown Boulevard/9th street improvements Phase 1($850k grant for $1.3 million project)
7. Olde Town (new signage)
8. Springfield Park (improvements)
9. 334 Greene(10 apts in Olde Town)
10. 1120 Jones(8 apts)

Gage Creed
17256
Points
Gage Creed 07/01/13 - 01:02 pm
1
0
All of this makes one wonder

All of this makes one wonder of the ginormous cost associated with a massive historic building at 301 9th Street.

corgimom
32608
Points
corgimom 07/01/13 - 02:12 pm
4
1
The difference between

The difference between Augusta and everywhere else is that when other cities build a convention center, it doesn't sit empty 99.9% of the time.

corgimom
32608
Points
corgimom 07/01/13 - 02:13 pm
4
1
But Countyman, I know you

But Countyman, I know you have access to what's scheduled at the TEE Center, tell us what's scheduled from now until July 2014.

The answer is, not much.

corgimom
32608
Points
corgimom 07/01/13 - 02:15 pm
3
0
Here's my vision for RC- FIX

Here's my vision for RC- FIX THE SCHOOLS so that RC has educated citizens!

Now, that's visionary!

Riverman1
84118
Points
Riverman1 07/01/13 - 02:45 pm
4
0
TEE Center Flopped

It’s obvious by now that the TEE Center is a flop that is going to cost the city tens of millions until it is finally demolished and the bricks used for paper weights. Few outside events have used the building since it opened and even those were misrepresented. The money spent and number of conventioneers is vastly overstated. The recent Tattoo Festival had a handful of people and was laughed at. Future events signed are slim. The building is being used for very small local events that previously used other facilities.

You now hear a change in justification for the building. Proponents now say it’s not how many people attend events, rooms are rented and money is spent. They say things like all successful cities have convention centers. It shows the world we are serious or other phrases that mean absolutely nothing.

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 07/01/13 - 03:27 pm
1
5
Augusta keep moving ahead

The same people always portray their opinions as facts.

The Holiday Inn Express is under construction and the proposed hotel near the common seems to becoming reality.

How many hotels underway in Martinez?

nocnoc
42717
Points
nocnoc 07/01/13 - 04:31 pm
4
0
Before another penny is spent

Before another penny is spent DOWNTOWN to FIX, ADD, ATTRACT and line a pocket.

Remember we are a CONSOLIDATED Government.

Remember there is a need for a Centralized location for Government Offices.

Remember DOWNTOWN is neither centralized to the ARC Population wise or Geographically.

After 16 years of pumping $$$$ into DOWNTOWN what do we have to show for it? More requests, to pump more $$$$ into DOWNTOWN.

Enough Already.

Remember there is more to ARC than the CBD and the Courts houses or making roadways easier for Columbia Co. residents to get to work.

nocnoc
42717
Points
nocnoc 07/01/13 - 04:33 pm
3
0
Riding through Diamond Lakes

Armed or Un-Armed after 5pm.

triscuit
3086
Points
triscuit 07/01/13 - 04:42 pm
3
0
countyman, I work downtown.

countyman, I work downtown. Our area around our building is constantly littered with trash. The vagrants go through our trash cans on the day before pickup and scatter or rifle through for aluminum cans. I eat on Broad St. a few times a week and have about busted my butt tripping over uneven areas of the sidewalk. I'm not 20 years old, but I have no problems walking or getting around. Can't imagine what would happen to older people if they tripped. There is plenty more to do with that kind of money downtown than put up a veranda.

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 07/01/13 - 05:36 pm
1
4
Facts

Nonnoc.. You're afraid to ride through Diamond Lakes after 5 pm based on what? The majority of recently built higher price housing in South Augusta surrounds the park. Their building another subdivision(Spring Creek Village) on Willis Foreman road. Why would anybody need to be armed when the homes in Manchester(the neighborhood inside the park) are over $200k? The field day for Augusta Tech is usually held there, and I'm not sure where that comment about safety could even come from.

What roadways is ARC building to make it easier for CC residents to get to work? I hope you don't mean Wrightsboro rd. The GADOT was behind this, and the project got help when TSplost passed. The city of Augusta and not GADOT is behind the upcoming Wrightsboro rd/I-520 construction(mainly for residents turning left from Wrightsboro onto I-520 heading towards South Augusta) and the widening of Belair rd from Wrightsboro to Jimmie Dyess. I don't understand how anybody could think of all the new homes on Belair/Jimmie Dyess, multiple new office/warehouse buildings along Wrightsboro near Sue Reynolds, Avalon community, growing Sue Reynolds, future Helena Springs community, etc is not related to the widening of Wrightsboro rd. The traffic backs up once you pass Barton Chapel, because so many people are making an left onto Belair rd.

The GADOT is spending $30 million in South Augsta for the I -520 construction which is more than Wrightsboro. The Mike Padgett hwy construction, and definitely the enormous Windsor Spring projects cost more than the Wrightsboro improvements.

Triscuit.. I already commented how TSplost will fix up the cosmetics. $25 million will be spent on Broad street from Washington road all the way to East Augusta(Sand Bar Ferry). It also sounds like people are more worried about attracting the CSRA residents instead of new visitors so Augusta can maybe have 2 million per year annually in Richmond County.

Fiat_Lux
15429
Points
Fiat_Lux 07/01/13 - 05:48 pm
5
1
I don't know why this is so hard to understand

People who pay the taxes that would be used for this stupid idea are opposed to it because it's not something they would get the slightest benefit from it. They don't go to Riverwalk anymore except perhaps on the Fourth of July or some large public events that happen once a year. The Saturday Market is nice and usually not too overrun with obnoxious people who don't know how to act in public.

The simple truth is that the minority is largely afraid of the majority in Richmond County because of the predatory and violent, criminal actions of some--I can't say "the few" because there simply are so many that fit that description. Gangs and roving bands of young people, with even the girls acting like savages, make the CBD and most South Augusta areas, including Diamond Lakes, to be traversed with much caution and wariness, especially after dark.

It may be safer that some of us believe, based on probability and by countyman's lights, but as long as people are getting mugged and beaten with bats every so often in the CBD, as long as gunfire graces Broad Street in well-lit and populated stretches, as long as gangs kill each other in what were quiet neighborhoods a decade ago, this city is not going to prosper. People who can afford it will leave Richmond County and go live in neighborhoods where gang members and their families do not live or even go. That simply is reality.

And the taxpayers darn sure aren't going to support the creation of another beautiful, expensive venue that will quickly be enjoyed only by the kind of people whose chief pleasure will be to trash it and harrass anyone else who dares show up acting civil and expecting a pleasant experience.

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 07/01/13 - 06:58 pm
1
4
Facts

The CBD has less homicides than the majority of areas in the CSRA since 2011(1). Please name one area outside of Richmond County where robberies don't happen?

The real estate in West Augusta, Summerville, Forest Hills etc is much higher compared to almost everywhere in the CSRA. The CBD & Southwest Augusta are richer than many places here. The city limits of Hephzibah and Why do you have to leave Richmond County to find neighborhoods where gang members and their families don't go? Why do some people hype up the areas outside of Richmond County when there's really only Evans and Aiken? Martinez to an lesser extent, but North Augusta is not on the level of the nicest areas in Richmond County.. I'm not saying their aren't nice places to live outside of Richmond County that aren't Evans, Aiken, or Martinez,, but strictly looking at the demographics.

The West Augusta portion of Washington rd has CRUSHED the Martinez side in recent years. The new Sheraton, Mercedes Benz showroom, Electrolux, Fresh Market expansion, Texas Roadhouse underway, future development in front of Kroger, Kroger/Washington Walk expansion, etc in West Augusta. The Stanton Optical, Haven at Reed Creek, Carolina Pottery, and Tire Discount in Martinez. Evans does have many new projects along Washington rd, but it had the advantage of having acres of vacant land.

Genghis Grill is opening in the Augusta Exhange area of West Augusta, and one of the requirements was an avg HH income of at least $65k. How many areas in the metro or CSRA is this even plausible?

Little Lamb
46046
Points
Little Lamb 07/01/13 - 06:48 pm
3
0
Fewer

Countyman posted:

The CBD has less homicides than the majority of areas in the CSRA since 2011.

In the first place, preferred standard English is "fewer," not "less."

In the second place, you cannot compare homicides in CBD versus any other geographic space because the geographic spaces have different areas, different populations, and different population densities. You need to normalize the data before you can draw conclusions.

But then, countyman never passed a college statistics course, so he doesn't know what I'm talking about.

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 07/01/13 - 06:55 pm
1
2
Double standard

The different populations don't seem to matter when the usual people compare the crime in Richmond County versus smaller surrounding counties.

Plus let's not try to act like there's so many large areas outside of Richmond County. The total number is four different places with two in both Aiken/Columbia counties.

Riverman1
84118
Points
Riverman1 07/01/13 - 07:07 pm
3
0
I didn't quite get that last

I didn't quite get that last comment. :)

Riverman1
84118
Points
Riverman1 07/01/13 - 07:09 pm
5
1
LL remarked about Countyman's

LL remarked about Countyman's post, "In the first place, preferred standard English is "fewer," not "less."

We would be here all night if we started correcting Countyman's grammar.

seenitB4
87358
Points
seenitB4 07/01/13 - 07:44 pm
2
0
Yall are killing me

Best laugh I've had all day...LOL really!!

I think I have less headache now....I will need fewer aspirins..:)

Grammar be gone bye bye...

GnipGnop
12241
Points
GnipGnop 07/01/13 - 10:59 pm
2
0
I can name a few hundred blocks that don't have homicides..

The CBD has less homicides than the majority of areas in the CSRA since 2011(1). Please name one area outside of Richmond County where robberies don't happen?
What kind of statistic is this supposed to be? Of course a few block area has less homicides...the subdivision I live in (which has far more residents than downtown) has never had a homicide in 40 years...stupid statistic....

dichotomy
33026
Points
dichotomy 07/01/13 - 11:05 pm
2
0
countyman..."The Veranda is a

countyman..."The Veranda is a great idea, and you have to be visionary."

The only vision I have is that people like you want to keep spending MY money for crap like this while raising my taxes and my fees and giving me nothing but less service.

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 07/02/13 - 12:09 am
1
1
Population increases daily

I would like to hear the name of the subdivision with thousands of people. The local subdivisions don't increase daily in terms of population either due to entertainment, jobs, shopping, and dining.

Fiat_Lux
15429
Points
Fiat_Lux 07/02/13 - 09:38 am
1
0
Statistics are meaningless; perception is everything.

As long as loud, obnoxious, intrusive and abusive young people with arrogant, hostile, angry attitudes roam the streets of the CBD, Augusta Mall or anywhere else, civilized people who have interpersonal discernment/skills and children in their wake will avoid those places.

It has become too unpredictable--even dangerous--when an unknown but definite percentage of people who all dress, talk and act exactly same way as almost everyone else around them will pull out a gun and start shooting when they are offended, without regard for anyone else who might be in the way of their anger and their bullets.

It's like traveling by air. It's touted as the safest way to travel, but when there is a mishap, everybody generally dies. Some people prefer to avoid the risk, especially when the probability of a "mishap" is at least 50:50.

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