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A field of dreams

City will need financing plan to get Golf and Gardens property

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Mayor Deke Copenhaver is warming up to ask Augusta commissioners to authorize city staff to create a financing package for a downtown baseball stadium, condominiums and retail complex on the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame property.

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Conceptual drawings of a downtown stadium show an outfield backing up to the river,  office and condo buildings, and a steamboat-shaped restaurant at the levee level.  Special
Special
Conceptual drawings of a downtown stadium show an outfield backing up to the river, office and condo buildings, and a steamboat-shaped restaurant at the levee level.

The package, which would outline the proposed project and means of financing it, is needed for the city to get the property from the state this year, and drawing it up would cost nothing, the mayor said.

Without it, three years of working with Gov. Sonny Perdue and the State Properties Commission on acquiring the abandoned 17-acre tract will be all for naught, and the city will be back to square one, he said.

"There's a bond attached to the property that will not be paid off for another six years, so the large potential is that if we don't get something done this year, that property will sit empty, grow weeds and produce no tax revenue for the next six years," Copenhaver said.

In addition to paying $2.8 million for the property, possibly leasing it for six years, the city will have to hustle because the transfer must be approved by the Legislature this session and be signed off on by the governor.

It's a field of dreams for the mayor and those who support a new $38.7 million stadium for the Augusta GreenJackets.

But to others, including most Augusta commissioners, it's fantasy baseball -- a risky venture that could end up on taxpayers' backs.

The mayor said it's too early for commissioners to make that call.

"In order to support it or not support it, the first thing we have to have is that finance package, and we're not detailing anything solid right now," he said. "So until I can get their go-ahead to give our staff the directive of putting the finance package together, I don't think they can make an educated decision whether or not they support it."

It's a hard sell for most commissioners.

"Let somebody else do the plan, somebody that's interested in investing down there," Commissioner J.R. Hatney said. "You can't do a plan free."

The mayor talked to Commissioner Don Grantham on Monday about using the city's tax allocation districts and private investment to finance the project, but didn't convince him that the direct expenses won't be a future expense for the taxpayers.

"I don't see how you're going to avoid that," Grantham said.

The package the mayor presented Grantham didn't include what GreenJackets owner Cal Ripken Jr. would contribute toward making the facility viable, he said.

The mayor and Ripken Baseball executives contend that such ventures have been highly successful in other cities, such as Greenville, S.C.

Grantham also wondered who would pay for the stadium.

"Are we looking to the taxpayers, or is this a private investment?" he asked.

Copenhaver said it would be a public-private partnership and that when he submitted a proposal to the state, Jim Jacoby, the developer of the Atlantic Station in Atlanta, was on board as a partner.

"He is still a part of the project should it go forward," he said. "The portion of the property he's looking at -- one of the ideas he has for that property would be high-end residential condominiums, this being based on the fact that by the time you would complete this project the economy would have returned.

"What we're talking about is a mixed-use sports and entertainment facility that would have retail, eventually restaurants, banks. It would not just be a sole-use baseball stadium. They don't build them like that anymore."

The mayor said acquisition of the property requires that it have a project attached to it.

"If we do not have a project attached to it -- and nobody's come up with a Plan B -- there's no way we will get the property," he said.

The mayor says there can't be any specifics about the proposed project until a financing plan is put together, but specifics are what commissioners say they want.

When asked whether he would support authorizing city staff to draw up a financing plan, Mayor Pro Tem Alvin Mason said: "Plan for what? Is that all in one, or are you talking about options? Perhaps a baseball stadium? Perhaps condos? Or are you talking about one thing, or something all together? Or are you taking about options?

"It could be a mixed-use development that could be the best thing to do down there. It could be condos like we were supposed to have at Reynolds Street that never happened. I don't know."

The state could assign the property to another state entity, such as the Medical College of Georgia or Augusta State University, said George Snelling, a member of the State Properties Commission from Augusta.

"I'm not advocating that," he said. "I believe that could be a possibility. The state would want to see a viable project. The governor wants the state to get the absolute best deal it can."

The Georgia Golf Hall of Fame Botanical Gardens opened in 2001 and closed in June 2007, during a drought that killed many of the plants when the water was cut off.

Later that year, the city began maintaining the property, but it stopped last year as part of cost-cutting measures.

Copenhaver maintains that the baseball stadium is still the best hope for reviving the property. Last year, the state put out a request for proposals for other uses, and the only others were for a Goodwill Industries job-training center and an assisted-living complex.

Lake Olmstead Stadium

Cal Ripken Jr. bought the Augusta GreenJackets in 2005 and renovated Lake Olmstead Stadium.

Five years later, the stadium is the third smallest in the South Atlantic League.

A downtown stadium committee visited other cities in 2007. Released in February 2008, a feasibility study projected a new stadium could bring up to 350,000 people downtown each year.

Commissioners see tough sell
AGAINST

ALVIN MASON: The mayor pro tem said he wants to see numbers and options.

"It's kind of hard to vote for something you haven't seen."

DON GRANTHAM: "If anything needs to be done right now, it is to spruce up the baseball stadium we've got and do the best we can during this economic downturn," Grantham said. "It's just not wise to spend money on projects that will cost you added expense for the future. That's what a baseball stadium is. I don't think we'll fill it up."

J.R. HATNEY: He said he thinks private money should buy the land and build the stadium.

COREY JOHNSON: "I can't at this time. ... I just think we've got too many other things going on right now, and we just need to focus on finishing the judicial center, and also the TEE center and the things going on on Laney-Walker/Bethlehem. We still haven't gotten the money for that yet. The baseball stadium is something we need to deal with -- if we deal with it -- at a later date."

JERRY BRIGHAM: He said he wouldn't vote to have a financial package put together until he knew where the money would come from to buy the land and build a stadium. "We don't have any money," he said.

JIMMY SMITH: Augusta already has a good stadium that it has spent money on, he said, and parking would be a problem if one were built on the Golf and Gardens property. In response to the mayor's contention that if something isn't done with the property this year it will sit growing weeds for six more years, Mr. Smith said: "Well, it ain't hurting nothing. It ain't costing nothing."

LEANING AGAINST

JOE JACKSON: He said he has "several issues" with building a baseball stadium, one being the state of the economy. "Second, what is it going to cost?" he said. "I think it would be a good idea, but I don't know what it's going to cost. Third, what are we going to do with the stadium we've got?"

JOE BOWLES: If the stadium could be built without involving taxpayers, he said he's for it 100 percent, but he fears it could go belly-up in 10 years, leaving the city to pay off the debt.

UNCOMMITTED

BILL LOCKETT: He said he could support a baseball stadium but would have to know more about it. "It wouldn't be first on my list. There are many things much more urgent that would benefit the citizens of Augusta-Richmond County."

MATT AITKEN: "I really haven't had a chance to talk to my constituents. I didn't know condominiums was going to be tied into it."

-- Compiled by Sylvia Cooper

Mayor makes case

Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver wants to talk downtown baseball with Augusta commissioners at their retreat next weekend in Athens.

In an e-mail sent to commissioners Friday, the mayor said he wants to discuss "the potential for a mixed-use sports and entertainment facility (baseball stadium)" he envisions being built on the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame property.

He also wants their approval for the city's finance staff to put together a financing package that he said will cost nothing.

Other points the mayor makes in his e-mail include:

- An exploratory committee has completed its due diligence work, including a feasibility study; visits to stadiums in Greenville, S.C.; Greensboro, N.C.; and Durham, N.C.; and an economic impact study.

- The project has received resolutions of support from the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Development Authority of Richmond County, the Greater Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau and Augusta Tomorrow.

- It is also a part of the city's newly updated downtown master plan.

- His concern is that if the city does not act during this legislative session -- while Gov. Sonny Perdue, state Properties Director Steve Stancil and state Rep. Ben Harbin, R-Evans, are on board with the project -- an opportunity to get the property will be lost and it will sit vacant for the next six years, producing no tax revenue.

Downtown baseball stadium
At home

The Augusta GreenJackets hope to move  to the former Golf & Gardens  property from their current residence at Lake Olmstead Stadium off Milledge Road. The 4,822-seat stadium, built on top of the old Heaton Stadium site in 1995, underwent a $1.5 million upgrade starting in 2005, when Ripken Baseball Group purchased the team. Five years later, it’s the third-smallest stadium in the South Atlantic League.

“We’re starting to outgrow it,” GreenJackets General Manager Nick Brown said just before a feasibility study was released two years ago exploring the possibility of a downtown stadium. “Heaton Stadium was a glorified high school stadium, and now we’re just a glorified collegiate field.”

On the road

A downtown stadium exploratory committee made visits to Greenville, S.C., Greensboro, N.C., and Durham, N.C., during the summer of 2007. After the road trips, the committee decided to hire an independent consulting firm to conduct a feasibility study on the possibility of building a downtown stadium.

The study, released Feb. 28, 2008, said a downtown stadium would “potentially bring upwards of 350,000 patrons a year into the downtown area,” and estimated “a total Ballpark development cost of $31,830,000.”

Seven months later, Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver tried to boost support for the project from city commissioners but failed to gain a quorum at a called meeting.

Grass Greener in Greenville

Proponents of a downtown stadium point to similar venues in Greenville, S.C., and Durham, N.C., as examples of what could happen in Augusta. According to GreenvilleDrive.com, Fluor Field at the West End was completed in 2006 on an old lumber yard in downtown Greenville. The team went from an average attendance of 1,719 fans per game in 2005, before the new stadium was built, to at least 4,700 fans per game each of the next four seasons, bringing more than 340,000 people to the downtown area each year.

Not a rookie

Ripken Baseball Group, which purchased the GreenJackets in 2005, owns other minor league teams in Aberdeen, Md., and Port Charlotte, Fla. Both franchises have seen new stadiums built since the purchases. The Port Charlotte team benefited from a $27 million facilities renovation in 2009, thanks to a deal between the Tampa Bay Rays and the city of Port Charlotte that included a 20-year agreement to make the stadium the Rays’ spring training home.

Aberdeen’s Ripken Stadium was part of a $35 million complex completed in 2002, according to The Baltimore Sun, just before the first season of the Aberdeen Ironbirds.

– Billy Byler, staff writer

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countyman
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countyman 02/07/10 - 04:11 pm
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AJ.... I meant to say the new

AJ.... I meant to say the new Sheriff's office and not Law Enforcement center. The Sheriff will probably be built in Southgate shopping center on Gordon Hwy.

countyman
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countyman 02/07/10 - 04:17 pm
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Riverman. I have no problem

Riverman. I have no problem if somebody isn't for the idea. But they have to come up with a plan B and plan C. It's okay if you're not for the project. But you have to have another suggestion. Augusta is not doing criticize one plan and don't come up with anything to replace it. The year is 2010 and we have to keep the ball rolling. Augusta is growing faster than Chattanooga, TN. So why do they have a aquarium downtown and we don't. Little Asheville, NC has a baseball stadium downtown.

Emerydan
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Emerydan 02/07/10 - 04:19 pm
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I expect deke to face some

I expect deke to face some strong opposition this election.. and this will only give them ammunition to use against him. Now he is the candidate of The Hill machine.. financed by the big money men like The Boardmans.. who just happen to be his inlaws.. so he will have an advantage on paper. BUT, I suspect Deke has lost a significant amount of his cross appeal beyond just the Hill crowd. It is very obvious that deke has been ineffective as mayor. He is clearly out of touch with what the majority of folks in this city see as the big priorities. Again, on how many other issues has Deke taken an initiative other than this Ball park idea? How about the crime Deke? How about The CNPO? How about the blight? the trash? the sorry state of roads? The deplorable conditions at the LEC? The continual neglect of South Augusta?.... oh yeah deke's big idea for South Augusta was to help an out of town developer put section 8 housing next to Goshen without ever consulting the folks down there. If Deke thinks this is teh #1 priority facing this city at this moment, then I see him as being VERY vulnerable despite his Hill backers and money chest.

corgimom
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corgimom 02/07/10 - 04:23 pm
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When a county has nearly 24%

When a county has nearly 24% percent of its residents living below the poverty line, and job growth is non-existent, and the vast majority of jobs to come are low-pay service jobs, and when the infrastructure is in terrible shape, NO, building a ballpark is not a good idea. If it's the sure-fire terrific money-maker that it's claimed to be, why isn't Cal Ripkin Jr. financing it? When private investors won't do it, there's a REASON. You take care of infrastructure and the quality of basic life issues first, then you worry about the extras. Federal spending is drying up. No one wants to address that. People can only take so much in taxes before they move. The "economic development" phantom DOES have a break-even point, and Augusta has reached it. If Augusta couldn't recover from its economic woes in the boom of the 1990's and early 2000's, it ISN"T GOING TO HAPPEN. Keep doing the same thing you've been doing for 20 years, if it hasn't happened in 20 years and the infrastructure is worse- then you need to change your "Master Plan".

corgimom
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corgimom 02/07/10 - 04:26 pm
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And by the way- I lived in

And by the way- I lived in Augusta. I love Augusta. I moved. When I came back in 1991, I said "I will not live in RC." I moved to North Augusta. It was wonderful. I will be coming back some day, so I most certainly do care what Augusta does. Augusta does not stand alone- it directly affects what happens in the whole CSRA.

harryosborn
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harryosborn 02/07/10 - 04:48 pm
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No No No No No!!! The stadium

No No No No No!!! The stadium attendance is less than 50% now. I will not drive downtown, have to park blocks away, to attend a game when the existing stadium is quite adequate for the need.

countyman
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countyman 02/07/10 - 05:28 pm
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Facts are facts. Augusta will

Facts are facts.

Augusta will do better, though, sheltered from the worst of the recession moreso than the rest of Georgia.

“I think Augusta has a bright future. For a number of reasons, we’re expecting the state to lag behind. Augusta should outperform the state as a whole,” Mr. Sumichrast said.

Job loss nationally was more than 5 percent, Mr. Sumichrast said, and 9 percent in Georgia. Augusta was around 4 percent.

Mark Vitner, senior economist for Wells Fargo, said Augusta’s affordability will make it attractive to companies in the recovery.

Mr. Vitner said Augusta will add jobs to its economy this year, about 2 percent.
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/latest/lat_704619.shtml?v=1636

The first season under the management of Ripken Baseball in 2006, we finished with the second largest attendance increase in all of Minor League Baseball. In 2007, we set a franchise record for total attendance, and this season we are on pace to set another franchise record for total attendance. Our fan base is diverse and includes all segments of the Augusta area, focusing mainly on groups of families, friends and co-workers.
http://indianapolis.indians.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080611&conte...

In 2008, the Augusta Green Jackets set another attendance record with over 200,000 fans cheering on their hometown team and single game attendance with 5,566 on July 4
http://www.augustaga.gov/archives/46/Augusta%20Green%20Jackets_%20Sept%2...

$30 million Saint Sebastian finishes construction July 2010 downtown. Will offer bicycle lanes and walking trails connecting to the mix-use path along first level of the canal.
http://www.augustaga.gov/DocumentView.aspx?DID=2193

Deans Bridge Road between Tobacco Road and Sandy Run Creek, where a $4 million road maintenance project began in August in 2009

Widening Alexander Drive, repaving a portion of River Watch Parkway and Reynolds Street and repaving Doug Barnard Parkway from Tobacco Road to Gordon Highway are about to start.
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2009/10/09/met_551208.shtml

Wrightsboro rd widening is about to begin.
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/latest/lat_704137.shtml

countyman
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countyman 02/07/10 - 05:43 pm
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Augusta needs its own type of

Augusta needs its own type of Atlantic Station development. A mix-use development is perfect for downtown. This would be even better than Atlantic Station. You would have the condos, offices, retail, & restaurants like Atlantic Station. But then you would have a baseball stadium attached overlooking the Savannah River. Steps away from the Hyatt hotel and Tee Center.

disssman
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disssman 02/07/10 - 06:06 pm
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countyman just dispute any

countyman just dispute any figures I provide. Apparently you haven't lived here long enough to realize that Augusta is a consolidated city and that means it is bigger than a 15 block area downtown. Just pull out a map and tell me where the streets downtown could handle thousands of added cars for a baseball stadium or a TEE center. Last I looked Reynolds was a tight 4 lane that squeezes to one lane and has a dozen redlights if you are leaving downtown and if you are going downtown it is an absolute mess getting from riverwatch to the downtown. And remember that is the only street for access to both of these great ideas. Lord help us when that street is resurfaced because of increased traffic. Further, that is the only street available for heavy trucks delivering downtown or hauling construction materials for work downtown. I won't go into the abundance of wholesome fun for families in that area to draw tourist, I doubt however, that most visitors will like the strip joints. But again get your head out of the sand and dispute my figures.

jleyes
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jleyes 02/07/10 - 06:14 pm
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The easiest argument against

The easiest argument against a ballpark, arena, TEE Center or anything that improves the enjoyment of the citizens is that there is always a more pressing need, so instead we should rally against the idea and let nothing happen? There will always be some pressing need and that is a poor excuse to stop progress. At some point you have to look to ways to grow, be viable and change people's perceptions. This project will change Augusta...for the better.

Mayor Deke isn't asking for the commission for anything other than the ability for Ripken-Jacoby and the City to figure out how to finance this thing. Once they have come up with plans THEN the commission can figure out if this makes sense or not. But in the meantime some want to kill progress without even understanding what it even means. What is the harm in working with the city to see if they can come up with ways to make this viable? Ultimately the land belongs to the state, you need a reason to transfer the land and it has to be the "highest and best use" for the citizens. How would just a condo development or an extension school be a higher and better use of the public waterfront then a ballpark within a park that all of the CSRA could enjoy and spend money in the downtown? Those things can built elsewhere, our downtown waterfront should be used for attractions -- a magnet to draw thousands to the downtown. The proposed mixed use stadium development is not only an attraction it's several attractions that would also compliment the TEE Center and all of Broad Street.

Lake Olmstead is obsolete, the club struggles to draw crowds regularly because it lacks proper ingress and egress, poor stadium design for concession operations and line management, lack of group and corporate areas, minimal parking and a rag tag group of bleachers that are meant to serve as a seating bowl. This stadium is no jewel and despite the city's and the Green Jackets efforts the park is clearly in the bottom third of facilities. It can be only slightly modified or improved but it would merely be a band-aid as there is way too much wrong with this facility that can't be fixed and a waste compared to the opportunity to re-invent our downtown waterfront and preserve baseball in Augusta for generations to come.

countyman
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countyman 02/07/10 - 06:48 pm
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Dissman.. What do you suggest

Dissman.. What do you suggest we build then? Please I would like to hear your suggestions. The parking arguement is weak. Especially when downtown holds the ESI Ironman, concerts at a 8500 James Brown arena, First Friday draws 10k, Border Bash 20k, Westobou 160k, Arts in the Heart 65k, and River Blast July 4 event. The stadium is only close to 6k.

Broad street is one of the most widest streets in the united states.

countyman
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countyman 02/07/10 - 06:58 pm
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Let's put people to work in

Let's put people to work in the CSRA. Construction on a mix-use development would do that.

Riverman1
87038
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Riverman1 02/07/10 - 07:24 pm
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Jleyes, regardless of your

Jleyes, regardless of your zeal, you have lots of misinformation about Lake Olmstead and the Greenjackets' attendance. In 2007 they set a franchise record for attendance after finishing with the second largest attendance increase in all of Minor League Baseball in 2006. The ballpark is respected and has been rated one of the best minor league stadiums in the country. (See my previous link.) Plus, there is free, abundant parking right at the stadium. If you guys do this just understand it is not because of Olmstead being deficient. I think it’s a big waste of money on the order of the TEE, but if the new stadium moves ahead, I wish them well. I’m a dedicated baseball fan on all levels. As I said before, just make sure, ASU gets Lake Olmstead Stadium if this all plays out.

jleyes
24
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jleyes 02/07/10 - 08:21 pm
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Riverman, not looking to

Riverman, not looking to debate but frankly the previous ownership did nothing to market the team and spent little to no money to do so. Not suprised by the team's resurgence under new ownership as clearly they have invested in the team and the staff.

The team is doing an admirable job of marketing the Greenjackets and trying to drive attendance (something no previous ownership attempted). I have spoken on many occasion to the management of Greenjackets and there is only so much that can be done while playing in that building, they are at a tipping point and Lake Olmstead is not a long term solution. Just like the JBA is a relic LOS is one as well, in fact for baseball it may be worse.

In regards to a a fan's website that is hardly a reliable source and more of an opinion, but then again I am merely expressing my opinion (I just lack a website). In regards to his site it appears he is complimentary of most older ballparks and generally isnt a fan of the more modern stadia. I have seen many major league and minor league facilities and I can tell you Lake Olmstead is far from anything special. One only needs to drive to Charleston, Greenville, Durham, Greensboro or even Gwinnett to see the difference between what we have and what the modern era looks like.

My real point is nothing ventured nothing gained. I see no reason in letting the private and public sector at least work together to see if this is feasible, at least give us something to chew on. But we have no idea what (if anything) this will cost the citizens and outside of time there is no real cost of at least seeing what fruit this could bear. Instead we get an article showing people's positions on the issue, but the issue is not a ballpark or a mixed use entertainment center it's figuring out options on how a deal could be structured. At least then we would know what Ripken or the city had in mind, then people could make noise in support of or opposed to, but right now we have nothing to debate except the idea.

devgru1
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devgru1 02/07/10 - 08:52 pm
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For a city to grow there have

For a city to grow there have to be changes. Until the people of Augusta understand that, nothing will ever happen here. As far as rampant crime. One of the ways to deter crime is to grow a city with development. With that people will come, tax revenue will grow, law enforcement will be increased in the area. Sitting back, complaining, and being pessimistic shows ignorance. Wake up. This city has been sitting dormant for years and crime is rising. Grow and things will change. But things will never change as long and politicians and citizens with little intelligence accept the status quot.

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 02/07/10 - 09:11 pm
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devgru.. that has been the

devgru.. that has been the formula we have operated under for well over 35 years now with very little to show for it. We heard this same song and dance with the civic center, Port Royal, the first convention center, Fort Discovery, Golf and Gardens, the list can go on and on... where is all of this private economic development that these largely taxpayer funded schemes was supposed to spur? The city cannot even maintain the Riverwalk. We are building a new library and will not have the staff to keep it open regular hours. The museum.. which was supposed to be another "shot in the arm" for downtown is operating on a skeleton schedule... and who knows how long it will even stay open? So the track record on all of these "build it and they will come" projects is pretty bad. We've spent hundreds of millions on these speculations, and for the most part, they have not come. How about for a change concentrating on the basic services and the basic quality of life issues that residents should expect for the taxes they pay? The old formula has not been working. Things will not change economically in Augusta until we make it a more attracting place to move to, not flee from. And anoether boondoggle downtown that will go belly up in a few years is not the solution.. it sure hasn't been for the last 30 years. It's time to take lessons from across the river... North Augusta has the right formula. Make Augusta a daily LIVABLE City. How many folks do you know move to a city because it has a TEE center or a ballpark downtown?? No.. people are still going to move to Columbia County and North Augusta.. because Augusta is dysfunctional and doesn't have its priorities in order.

countyman
20627
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countyman 02/07/10 - 09:30 pm
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Facts are facts. People

Facts are facts. People continue to move to Augusta and Richmond county everyday.

I love the growth. Deke keep moving forward into the future.

Richmond county is booming with new residential growth.

Willhaven starting at $150k off Gordon Hwy btw Jimmie Dyess and Lewiston rd in Grovetown. Phase 2 now underway 27 acres, 79 lot subdivison addition.
http://appweb.augustaga.gov/planning_zoning/plazid_display.asp?zID=4000

Willhaven amenity area. Swimming pool, cluhouse, etc.
http://appweb.augustaga.gov/planning_zoning/plazid_display.asp?zID=3999

Hope Villas phase 2, section 2. Subdivison
http://appweb.augustaga.gov/planning_zoning/plazid_display.asp?zID=3996

Avalon Apts phase 2, 56 additional units
http://appweb.augustaga.gov/planning_zoning/plazid_display.asp?zID=3995

Granite Hill section 3, 40 acres
http://appweb.augustaga.gov/planning_zoning/plazid_display.asp?zID=3992

Grandwood Estates phase 1
http://appweb.augustaga.gov/planning_zoning/plazid_display.asp?zID=3966

Richmond Estates phase 2
http://appweb.augustaga.gov/planning_zoning/plazid_display.asp?zID=3963

Brownestones at Rae's Creek
http://appweb.augustaga.gov/planning_zoning/plazid_display.asp?zID=3956

Dennis Farms, 8 acres
http://appweb.augustaga.gov/planning_zoning/plazid_display.asp?zID=3954

The Walks on James Brown Boulevard, 3 acres
http://appweb.augustaga.gov/planning_zoning/plazid_display.asp?zID=3948

West Wheeler phase 10 adjacent to West Wheeler phase 11
http://appweb.augustaga.gov/planning_zoning/plazid_display.asp?zID=3940

West Wheeler phase 11
http://appweb.augustaga.gov/planning_zoning/plazid_display.asp?zID=3870

William Robinson School
http://appweb.augustaga.gov/planning_zoning/plazid_display.asp?zID=3923

Southhampton section 3
http://appweb.augustaga.gov/planning_zoning/plazid_display.asp?zID=3894

Manchester section 5
http://appweb.augustaga.gov/planning_zoning/plazid_display.asp?zID=3925

Townhomes at Sanctuary
http://appweb.augustaga.gov/planning_zoning/plazid_display.asp?zID=3872

Mayo townhomes phase 3
http://appweb.augustaga.gov/planning_zoning/plazid_display.asp?zID=

corgimom
34215
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corgimom 02/07/10 - 09:34 pm
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Amen, Emerydan! While it may

Amen, Emerydan! While it may be true that Augusta lost only 4% in jobs, they were depressed to begin with. How can anyone- anyone-legitimately say that "things are better in Augusta than the rest of the state" when we are far higher than the rest of the state in poverty figures? Job loss was only 4%- because we had already had so much job loss in the 80's that have never been replaced. Again- you can say "I only drowned in one foot of water, that's better than my friend who drowned in nine feet of water"- well, drowned is drowned, and depth doesn't make a difference. When thousands and thousands of homes are for sale in Augusta, with no buyers, then yes, Augusta is in bad shape. How can anyone, with any humanity, look around Augusta and see its tremedous poverty and problems and then say "Let's build a ball park"? Rome is burning, quit fiddling, Nero! Why are people leaving in droves for CC and Aiken County? The middle class is who pays taxes, and they have been leaving for years. Look at North Augusta and Columbia County. RC gets none of those property taxes, and they all left RC for very valid reasons that aren't being addressed.

corgimom
34215
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corgimom 02/07/10 - 09:35 pm
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"Facts are facts. People

"Facts are facts. People continue to move to Augusta and Richmond county everyday." Then WHY is the total population of RC declining, when the rest of the nation's population is increasing? Because more people are leaving than are being replaced.

countyman
20627
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countyman 02/07/10 - 09:41 pm
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Those are only a small sample

Those are only a small sample of the new residential underway. What are these people talking about. Are living in fantasy land.

More residential under construction in Augusta & Richmond county?

Costwolds Place
http://appweb.augustaga.gov/planning_zoning/plazid_display.asp?zID=3694

Carnes Place
http://carnesplaceaugusta.com/include/links.asp

Dunnington Townhomes
http://www.augustaeda.com/pdf/LAND%20Dunnington%20Site.pdf

Flournoy Development
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/053108/met_460619.shtml

Parc at Flowing Wells
http://appweb.augustaga.gov/planning_zoning/plazid_display.asp?zID=3885

Augusta will outperform the entire state of GA in 2010. It must be doing something right.

countyman
20627
Points
countyman 02/07/10 - 09:44 pm
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Corgimom. Data released from

Corgimom.

Data released from the U.S. Census Bureau show that Augusta's population continues to grow.

The estimates are based on July 1, 2008. At that time, the city of Augusta was estimated to have a population of 194,149, and increase of 1.1 percent over the July 1, 2007 estimate of 192,409. The city of Augusta is ranked as the 113th most populated city in the U.S.

Richmond County, which includes Augusta, Hephzibah, and Blythe, also saw an increase from 197,643 in 2007 to 199,486 in 2008.
http://www.nbcaugusta.com/news/local/49607107.html

Why would developers build so many new residential areas? If the population was declining.

corgimom
34215
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corgimom 02/07/10 - 09:53 pm
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Here's what will happen.

Here's what will happen. People will continue to move to CC and Aiken County. Schools drive economic development, not TEE Centers and ball parks. And that's why I wouldn't go back to RC in 1991, and why I wouldn't go back now. My son went to Southside Elementary. When he came back, he went to NAES, PKMS, and NAHS. The differences were astounding. If they build the ballpark, people will come for a few hours, and then after the game is over, go back to their homes- and all that property tax will go to other counties.

countyman
20627
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countyman 02/07/10 - 09:55 pm
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Where are you facts? I showed

Where are you facts?

I showed multple links of new residential under construction in Augusta & Richmond county. Several of the residential areas have homes over 300k.

I showed a link showing Augusta and Richmond county population grew from 2007-2008. The population grew even faster in 2008-2010. Just look at all the construction in Augusta and Richmond county.

I showed a link of Carnes Place on the Hill. The neighborhood has 3 bedroom listed at 700k. Sounds like upper middle class is moving to Richmond county.
http://carnesplaceaugusta.com/include/links.asp

Lakes at Sprit Creek in Hephzibah starts at 190k
http://www.meybohm.com/results.aspx?subdiv=The%20Lakes%20at%20Spirit%20C...

Costwolds Place in West Augusta. Most of the homes are over 280k. I can go on and on with new residential being built.

corgimom
34215
Points
corgimom 02/07/10 - 10:02 pm
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I go by census figures of the

I go by census figures of the US census, not NBC. http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/13/13245.html Population, 2008 estimate- 199,486; Population base, 2000 199,778. Median household income, 2007 $36,944, GA $49,080; Per capita money income, 1999, Augusta, $17,088; GA $21,154. And don't forget, the economy during the 2000-2008 period was booming- and Augusta declined. Look around you, Countyman. Look at the schools. Look at the graduation rates. Look at the poverty rates. Wake up. This is my beloved Augusta, and it's declining. Look at the potholes. Look at the decay and the blight. The only way I'll move back is as a retiree, there aren't any decent jobs in Augusta. It's too close to Columbia, too close to Atlanta to get any big regional headquarters. There is only one interstate. It's hard to get to from the SC and GA state capitals.

If Augusta is doing so well, why are all these companies leaving, like Electrolux?

countyman
20627
Points
countyman 02/07/10 - 10:03 pm
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You people are cracking me

You people are cracking me up. Augusta & Richmond county gained more people than the entire metro Macon and metro Columbus did in 2007-2008. Were growing even faster in 2010.

countyman
20627
Points
countyman 02/07/10 - 10:18 pm
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Lol you have to go back to

Lol you have to go back to the past. The past is just that the past. 2000 was 10 years ago. Augusta city did lose population from 2000-2005. Every city goes through a period where the suburbs grow faster. In 2010 Richmond county population is higher than 2000. Richmond county has never lost population. The city and county both have been gaining population since 2005-2006. NBC Augusta estimates can from the census. You can continue to focus on the past. Augusta and Richmond county are growing in population. That's why some many new residential areas are under construction.

Why are ADP, T-Mobile, Wells Fargo, NSA, Medical Distirct, SRS, Procter and Gamble, American Tire adding jobs?

The graduation rate is 71%.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 02/07/10 - 10:21 pm
0
0
You can pee in a glass and

You can pee in a glass and call it champagne all you want... still doesn't make it champagne.

countyman
20627
Points
countyman 02/07/10 - 10:26 pm
0
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You're have to go back to the

You're have to go back to the year 1999 and 2000. Its the year 2010. Let's get some current stats. If Augusta is declining how do you explain this?

Incomes for educated workers are growing fastest in these cities

GA had two cities. Augusta #44 and Atlanta #63
http://www.forbes.com/2009/12/15/income-cities-rich-lifestyle-real-estat...

Median pay 2005 - Median pay 2009
Augusta $46,300 - $50,700
Atlanta $56,200 - $60,500

Median pay trend since december 2005-unemployment
Augusta 9.54% - 9.5%
Atlanta 7.66% - 10.4%

Augusta vs our competitors

1. Greenville $55,500
2. Greensboro $52,600
3. Augusta $50,700
4. Charleston $50,600
5. Chattanooga $49,600
6. Jackson $47,800
7. Columbia $47,700

Other rankings

• -Metro Monitor – 23rd among the strongest metro performances across 4 indicators
• -Miliken Institue/Greenstreet Real Estate Partners – Augusta is ranked #82nd Best Performing Cities Index (components include job, wages & salary and technology growth)
• -Forbes #5 in the nation “Best Bang For the Buck” Cities
• -Forbes #22 Fastest Recovering Cities in America
• -Business Week #23 “Forty Strongest Metro Economies”
• -Business Week #11 “America’s 25 Next Recovering Job Markets”
• -Business Week #6 “Strongest Building Markets for Housing”
• -Business Week #21 “30 Strongest Housing Markets in the United States”
• -Forbes #44 “100 Cities Where Americans Are Getting Richer”

countyman
20627
Points
countyman 02/07/10 - 10:42 pm
0
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If Augusta is declining how

If Augusta is declining how do you explain this?

Richmond county unemployment was 9.6% in Dec 2009

Georgia unemployment rate was 10.3% in Dec 2009
http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/business/2010-01-28/december-unemploym...

National unemployment was 10% in Dec 2009
http://www.theoutlookonline.com/news/story.php?story_id=126540205069832400

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 02/07/10 - 10:47 pm
0
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A better Title for this

A better Title for this arti8cle would have been : "A Field of Schemes"

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