Property sales plans go forward

The Augusta Commission Finance Committee voted Monday to move forward with plans to sell more than a dozen surplus city properties.

The committee voted to have City Administrator Fred Russell finalize the proposed list and schedule a public hearing to receive input on the proposal to auction off the properties.

The proposal would go before the full commission Aug. 21.

Mr. Russell said he received a letter from Columbia County officials last week asking whether the city would be interested in selling or leasing valuable property it owns on the Savannah River.

Commissioner Don Grantham said the property was purchased by the old Richmond County Commission in 1992 for possible use as a water-intake plant to provide water to south Augusta.

Mr. Grantham said he could not see commissioners selling or allowing any type of lease that would call for buildings or other structures that would interfere with Augusta using the property.

"Recreation, cleaning it up, using the ground, that is one thing, but I just don't think that piece of property needs to be sold," he said. "The city of Atlanta has also been interested in that piece of property from years gone by."

Commissioner Andy Cheek said that to build a pumping station on the 22 acres of land and acquire easements to pump water into Augusta would be too costly.

"There will not be a need for us to have that unless we get into a regional water authority business and sell water to Columbia County and other places," he said. "There again you go back to building a plant, the time, delay, cost of easements and putting in the pipes. You're talking 50 to 75 million bucks to put in a pumping station and infrastructure to carry the water away."

Mr. Cheek said the city has an opportunity to make money to improve the Augusta Canal and diversion dam, and to create goodwill with Columbia County.

"The only reason I can see for hanging onto it is for the expansion of the Canal park in that area," he said. "We don't even maintain the park we've got."

Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or sylvia.cooper@augustachronicle.com.

SURPLUS PROPERTIES

Surplus city property that might be auctioned off to the highest bidder:

- 408 Oak St., 0.16 acres, appraised value $32,754

- Community Park Road (portion of Sue Reynolds), two parcels, appraised value $61,800, 4.52 acres, and $19,700, 4.45 acres

- Small piece of the parcel at the rear of 3201 Ramsgate Road, appraised value is unknown

- 2060 Lock & Dam Road, appraised value $100,400

- 2231 Windsor Spring Road, 0.52 acres, appraised value $10,000

- 2762 Wheeler Road, 0.2 acres, appraised value $5,700

- 940 14th Ave., 0.16 acres, appraised value $1,800

- 1068 Bertram Road, 0.93 acres, appraised value $104,600

- 116 Chamblin Road (Columbia County), 7.97 acres, appraised value $50,266

- Reynolds Street, 1.54 acres, tract near the city's Bay Street building

- Evans-to-Locks Road (Columbia County), 22.46 acres, appraised value $518,748

- 1624 Hartrich Road (off Doug Barnard Parkway), 40.62 acres, appraised value, $73,100

- North Savannah Road (off Doug Barnard Parkway), 58.71 acres, appraised value $139,084

- 2023 Highland Ave., 0.12 acres, appraised value $1,998,112