Apartments mire work on library

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Augusta's future main branch library downtown has hit another snag, one the library system's top official fears could mean the loss of $2 million in state funding for the project.

Already fraught with delays from procurement litigation, the $24 million project could be held back longer by the purchase of an apartment building at 842 Greene St.

The building sits on the last piece of property needed for the new library at Telfair Street and James Brown Boulevard.

But there have been some problems with Housing and Urban Development in acquiring the building, which houses government-subsidized residents, said city attorney Steve Shepard.

Gary Swint, the executive director of the East Central Georgia Regional Library, said he had hoped the city would have completed the deal six months ago.

"If we don't get a move on, we're going to lose the state funding," he said.

Mr. Swint said the library must be open to the public and operating by 2010 or it will lose the $2 million appropriated by the state Legislature in 2006.

Mr. Shepard said he didn't expect the delays to drastically affect the project. Like most government projects, this one has had its fair share of timeline adjustments, he said. "Everything in government takes longer."

Mr. Shepard said the key to pulling off the land deal is finding substitute housing for the residents living on public assistance in the building.

"It's not an insurmountable problem," he said.

But a date to begin construction can't be set until the acquisition is complete, and at this point the design is on hold, said project manager Bob Munger, of Heery International Inc.

Meanwhile, the demolition of existing buildings on the new library's footprint has been progressing.

The old candy factory has been flattened, and the former Liberty Loan building was demolished last week.

The car wash at Greene Street and James Brown Boulevard should be vacated soon for demolition, Mr. Munger said.

Reach Justin Boron at (706) 823-3215 or

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greenhulk1980 07/05/07 - 07:05 am
Kick them out...out them on

Kick them out...out them on the streets. I really we export them to columbia county but thats just my opinion. And we can send Marion with them.

natep 07/05/07 - 07:10 am
No thanks. We don't want

No thanks. We don't want them.

bone 07/05/07 - 07:30 am
another great example of how

another great example of how overhelping others leads to future problems. imagine if at some point these "residents" had been told that their stay was limited to a fixed period of time (except, of course, for elderly or disabled persons). oh, well, why not just let them receive a benefit in perpetuity.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 07/05/07 - 07:44 am
You know, we usually think of

You know, we usually think of the Augusta Commission when we bemoan our incompent government, but this story shows that the incompetence permeates the entire city government, from the commission to the mayor to the administrator to the lawyers to the department heads down to the worker bees. So little planning, so little foresight. And no one is held accountable.

deekster 07/05/07 - 10:15 am
And this is the "second

And this is the "second largest" city in Georgia (-: A "mecca" of "art and culture" (-:

imdstuf 07/05/07 - 11:44 am
Do not blame the residents.

Do not blame the residents. Blame the ingorant goverment officials who started building before they had purchased all the land they needed for the project. Would you start building a house before you had all the land you need for it?

whyme 07/05/07 - 11:51 am
These residents don't bother

These residents don't bother anyone. Just because they're low income doesn't mean that they are worthless. Many of them have illnesses, may be elderly, or whatever, and have lived there quite some time. I'd hate to be told that I was being "kicked out" of my home, with my meager belongings.

jaschild 07/05/07 - 07:34 pm
it's the "WHATEVER" folks

it's the "WHATEVER" folks that bug me, fizast. elderly or disabled i don't have any problem supporting - certain illnesses, too. not being a bother doesn't mean you get to live off my back & not contribute anything other than their desire to receive something for nothing.

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