Originally created 08/11/98

Administrator offers city aid on mill project



When Clay Boardman asked for money to help complete construction of Enterprise Mill, Augusta commissioners responded with in-kind services instead -- more than $187,000 worth.

It will cost more than $15 million to turn the old Enterprise Mill on Greene Street into upscale apartments and office spaces.

Last Friday, Mr. Boardman of Enterprise Mill, LLC, wrote a letter to city officials asking for an unspecified amount of money for the project.

Members of the commission's engineering services committee said in lieu of cash, the city would buy and install $157,500 worth of street lights in the Enterprise Mill vicinity as well as buy and build a $30,000 wooden fence to separate the mill from railroad tracks on 15th Street.

The city would also ask the Richmond County Sheriff's Office to enforce vagrancy and loitering laws near the Salvation Army homeless shelter, which is next door to the mill.

"This is a reasonable swap, I think," said City Administrator Randy Oliver who presented the proposal to the committee Monday.

It is subject to final approval by the full board of Augusta Commissioners next week.

The engineering services committee also agreed to reconstruct Cottage Street by Nov. 15; to pay for landscaping around Greene Street from 15th and Cottage streets; and to allow pedestrian access to and from the Augusta Canal along Enterprise property. Access points to the canal are subject to the approval of the Canal Authority, the proposal states.

Commissioner J.B. Powell suggested city officials throw in pedestrian traffic lights near the mill, while Commissioner Jerry Brigham suggested city workers find an alternative to putting up a wooden fence to separate the mill from the railroad tracks.

"Graffiti will surely crop up everywhere on that fence and I suggest we use some type of vegetation instead," he said. Mr. Oliver responded they'd already thought of that but found out pesticides used by the train companies would kill any kind of plant life.

Committee members also agreed to construct a deceleration lane on Greene Street, at the city's expense. The lane would provide access to St. Sebastian Way. The proposal states that the city will also help Enterprise Mill, LLC, obtain permission from the Georgia Department of Transportation for parking spaces under the John C. Calhoun Expressway right-of-way.

In return, Enterprise Mill, LLC, will agree that the city will have no responsibility now or in the future to provide additional parking at the site; landscape and maintain the Augusta Canal levee property owned by the city; and will not hold the city liable for any injuries occurring to contractors or employees performing the work, the proposal states.

In other business, city employees may not get 3 percent salary increases, as they did last year.

Augusta's administrative services committee approved giving city employees 1 1/2 percent across-the-board salary increases this year. The other 1 1/2 percent will be awarded to certain employees based on performance, at the sole discretion of their supervisor.

Commissioners are expected to vote on the measure next Tuesday.