Proposal for park focuses on mall

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The abandoned Regency Mall could become the site of a regional park if some Augusta commissioners get their way.

The Augusta Commission's Public Services Committee voted Monday to forward a proposal to the full commission to develop a plan for creating a park on the 75-acre site. The proposal will be considered next Tuesday.

The concept would be similar to Diamond Lakes Regional Park off Windsor Spring Road in south Augusta.

Recreation Director Tom Beck had enthusiasm for the idea.

"A combination of some other governmental offices and functions could very well be considered in that," he said. "Our administrative offices, for example, are really in run-down condition. The types of major recreational and entertainment values that could come from the properties there are really endless."

Commissioner Calvin Holland spoke in favor of the park proposal.

"Everybody knows that Regency Mall is the hub of the city," he said.

Now commissioners are in a position to do something that will bring businesses back to the Gordon Highway-Deans Bridge Road area, he added.

Commissioner Jerry Brigham suggested discussing the proposal further in another committee meeting before sending it to the full commission, but the committee voted not to wait.

Mr. Brigham said he had concerns about the government's taking over the property and taking it off the tax rolls.

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

IN OTHER ACTION


In other action Monday, commissioners:


- Agreed to move the Richmond County Juvenile Court to the space previously used by the U.S. District Bankruptcy Court in the 900 block of Broad Street, and authorized City Administrator Fred Russell to negotiate a five-year lease of the space.


- Granted a request from the Brigadier General E. Porter Alexander Camp No. 158, Sons of Confederate Veterans, for permission to apply for a $42,000 grant to be used for restoration work on the Confederate Powder Works chimney at Sibley Mill on Goodrich Street.


- Voted to support Vantage Development's low-income tax credit application to the state Department of Community Affairs for The Terrace at Edinburgh and approved $300,000 in HOME funds from the city's housing department with an additional operating subsidy of $18,000 per year for 10 years. Vantage Development plans to build 72 apartment units for the elderly in south Augusta.

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Craig Spinks
818
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Craig Spinks 05/13/08 - 02:51 am
0
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KUDOS to the RCC for giving

KUDOS to the RCC for giving their juvenile court more and better space. Hopefully this move is a omen of increased fiscal support for the efforts of Juvenile Court Judges Sams, Allen, Saunders et al. in their critical efforts to deflect kids from lives of crime and dependency.

nonumberplease
0
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nonumberplease 05/13/08 - 04:56 am
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Before you jump into another

Before you jump into another project such as the park proposal,
where is the money coming from to pay for this joke! The great
location you talk about must not be that good or the mall would
still be open! This sounds like another haven for crime to
be the main concern and that people will not support the park.
I think you should come up with a way to lower property taxes
and get real with the assessments than to look at spending
more money. Fred Russell is full speed ahead at spending
money, does he live in Richmond county?

wootchieone
4
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wootchieone 05/13/08 - 05:21 am
0
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Why did the mall fail in the

Why did the mall fail in the first place?
Our family quit shopping there because of the crimes committed there and the threatening attitude of the gangbanger types who hung around.

ccrcresident
0
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ccrcresident 05/13/08 - 06:30 am
0
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You have got to be joking!!

You have got to be joking!! Keep wasting money Richmond County!! This will be a good hang out for the drug neighborhoods next door... Why dont you clean those up first!

fed up
0
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fed up 05/13/08 - 06:49 am
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Great job! spend all that

Great job! spend all that money to put a park right across the street from where people get robbed when they go to visit graves at the cemetery! Would it not be better to apply this money to prootect the honest citizens?? This is the stupidist thing that I have ever heard!

getalife
6
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getalife 05/13/08 - 07:34 am
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"Hub of the city"?? Another

"Hub of the city"?? Another bad idea!! Why would putting a park there bring more business to that area??

lezniack01
0
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lezniack01 05/13/08 - 07:40 am
0
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If you build it, they will

If you build it, they will come. Sadly, this will just be another place for druggies and prostitutes to hang out and push crack on the kids in that area . The people who pay the taxes for it wont be able to use it. Please don't do that to South Augusta.

christian134
1
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christian134 05/13/08 - 07:51 am
0
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Just do something about the

Just do something about the problem...As it stands it is downright ugly and more than likely a gathering spot for criminal activity..A real eyesore...Tear it down, plant some trees and leave it alone....Actually put some monies into it and build a super prison...The way this country is going the jail, prisons are full to overflowing...This makes more sense than a park...Goodness I am being pessimistic this morning...Going to get more coffee...Hey heres to everyone a big Good Morning to all...:-)

jackfruitpaper833
41
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jackfruitpaper833 05/13/08 - 07:53 am
0
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Something other than a park

Something other than a park needs to go there, that area is to busy with cars.

Little Lamb
52512
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Little Lamb 05/13/08 - 08:14 am
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The overwhelming sentiment in

The overwhelming sentiment in the posts above is that that corner of Deans Bridge and Gordon Hwy. is not a good location for a park. I wholeheartedly agree. The property now is in private hands and presumably taxes are being paid. The owner will see the city coming and dollar signs will dance in the owner's head. We are voting on ANOTHER SPLOST proposal this fall, and you can just see Fred (What, Me Worry?) Russell rubbing his hands with glee wanting taxpayers to buy another property and build another albatross. Commissioners, DO NOT BUY THIS PROPERTY!!!!

curly123053
6374
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curly123053 05/13/08 - 08:17 am
0
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Does Richmond County want to

Does Richmond County want to cultivate another area for drug traffic? If they could not keep the criminal activity under control while Regency Mall was there what makes them think they can keep the criminal activity under control with a park? It sounds like a good plan, but it is in the wrong place.

LaTwon
1
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LaTwon 05/13/08 - 08:25 am
0
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the worlds largest crack

the worlds largest crack house.....................

pointstoponder
1185
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pointstoponder 05/13/08 - 08:33 am
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Regency is in the center of

Regency is in the center of the county but it is not the hub of the county. Aside from that, by all means, build another park that will result in another tax increase to operate.

502.5
0
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502.5 05/13/08 - 08:38 am
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Wow! Such pessimism from

Wow! Such pessimism from everyone. I'd love to see this old property be used. I don't think crime was the only reason Regency closed. A newer, more attractive mall closer to Columbia County and better advertising also pulled people away from Regency...even J.B. White. Let's hear what the proposal is before we cast stones. After all, Diamond Lakes is doing well. Wouldn't it be nice to have a sports park and maybe an indoor venue with the actual capacity to attract some great entertainment? Again, let's just hear it out before we make a blanket judgement. And while I don't live in Richmond County, I have patronized South Augusta for over 30 years because it is close to my home in Burke County.

Pazuzu
0
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Pazuzu 05/13/08 - 08:41 am
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Well at least people are

Well at least people are thinking about the dump. I propose the idea of a Zoo. Kinda like the one in Columbia SC.

deekster
24
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deekster 05/13/08 - 08:57 am
0
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How about "The James Brown

How about "The James Brown Arena II"? "From Shinin' Shoes to Shinin' Lite". He certainly inspired my life.

Freeman
0
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Freeman 05/13/08 - 08:58 am
0
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How about a public garden,

How about a public garden, where the growers rent their space and the area would be fenced and regularly patrolled...might help cut back on those high food prices and get local area citizens involved in group projects, maybe a local grower's market where excess could be sold to consumers for less than store pricing, add that into a park idea, with perhaps moving the law enforcement precinct substation to the same locale..the visibility of so many patrol cars might deter crimes, serve as guard over the farm plots, and lend a sense of security while patrons enjoy the many splendor things...just 'imagine'... hey maybe add the petting zoo as well, and a flea market too... heck there's enough room for all of those and more...maybe a 3-ring circus...nah

Bored in GA
2
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Bored in GA 05/13/08 - 09:06 am
0
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Yea and the ad could

Yea and the ad could read.....And right down the road we have another park used for Dirty OLD Men to play in the bushes!!!

ivymist
0
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ivymist 05/13/08 - 09:31 am
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boy everone is WAY more than

boy everone is WAY more than pessimistic this morning. there was NOTHING wrong with Regency Mall, the location or the building, until business was dragged away from it by Augusta Mall. When there was no legitimate business it became the crime-filled place that caused it to close. if you bring back legitimate business to the area (as a park for instance) then the crime will be forced out. legitimate uses, and the people who would patronize a place like a park or garden, would demand that the area come up in status and stay that way. its a perpetuating circumstance and people should think hard before damning the ideas before they come up seriously.

sctex
1
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sctex 05/13/08 - 09:34 am
0
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The reason why Augusta is a

The reason why Augusta is a dump is the county commission.

luv2scrapbk
0
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luv2scrapbk 05/13/08 - 09:36 am
0
0
Anything would be better than

Anything would be better than the eye sore that is currently there.

ripjones
2
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ripjones 05/13/08 - 09:39 am
0
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Having moved here in 1987, we

Having moved here in 1987, we watched the decline of the Regency Mall property. They did place a Sheriff's Substation there, but I don't know if it actually ever did any good. Outside of the achor stores, I saw the little shops evolve (?) into slimy stores that appeared to go after the ignorant soldier, from right up the road. One of those stores is now in Augusta Mall, and you know who you are. If they would build the Parks and Recreation offoces there, maybe they could help to make the area a little more secure. They also could help things by putting the Substation back in place. It's a big piece of land that could be made into something, but the Commission should not try to do it themselves alone. There is not a strong enough tax base in Augusta-Richmond County. Time will tell.

jackfruitpaper833
41
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jackfruitpaper833 05/13/08 - 09:40 am
0
0
How about tearing everything

How about tearing everything down and rebuilding a NEW MALL, an upscale mall...

Freeman
0
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Freeman 05/13/08 - 09:44 am
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Well bored-n-GA, I for one

Well bored-n-GA, I for one would not advertise that fact...in fact, a bunch of us could clean up that other 'park' down the road by just building a few tree stands and hanging around a few times with our shotguns n rifles... next time we see some old geezer 'whip it out' we could 'nip' that problem once n for all... kinda like shooting a few squirrels so their bloody carcasses will run off the rest of those pesky no-good critters... of course, I'm just a homo-hatin' red-neck and we'd have to get rid o' those G&L groups while we're at it... anybody hear that buzzin sound comin this way...yikes...hornets!

meamous
0
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meamous 05/13/08 - 09:45 am
0
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ivymist as a long time

ivymist as a long time resident of South Augusta I can assure you that Regency Mall was suffering from exactly the problems as stated above.It certainly didn't help that Augusta Mall was built but many communities of our size have no problems supporting two malls.Do any of you remember the Aleta Bunch case?Pretty much signed Regency Mall's death warrant if you ask me.And the surrounding community has only gotten worse.I think most of the posters you call pessimists are just realists.

Freeman
0
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Freeman 05/13/08 - 09:47 am
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If they do tear it down, I'm

If they do tear it down, I'm getting a job with Thompson's Wrecking, would keep me in green all summer long...and then some.

gagirl40
158
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gagirl40 05/13/08 - 10:03 am
0
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The best idea I have heard

The best idea I have heard for the old Regency Mall is to move all of our government there, in one central location. A "Government Complex". The 4th Street LEC is in such ill repair, they could put the sheriff's dept. and jail at Regency Mall on one floor and all the courts on another in the larger store buildings...Belk, White's, Montgomery Wards...etc. . The little stores could be rented out for law offices, bail bondsmen etc, and they could even rent out the restaurants as restaurants for the people working there. The mall was built with back hallways that could be used for transporting prisoners to the different courtrooms. And goodness knows there's more parking there than any of our government buildings we have now. If we're gonna end up buying it, we might as well get our money's worth and use it for something useful instead of spending millions of dollars building another LEC or Courthouse.

dani
13
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dani 05/13/08 - 10:24 am
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The best idea I have heard is

The best idea I have heard is "TEAR it down". It's like the movie "The Mony Pit" A TOTAL disaster. Although I will agree that present day owners would celebrate the idea of the city (Meaning we, the people) would buy it, you can't find folks this foolish everyday.

BakersfieldCityLimits
1
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BakersfieldCityLimits 05/13/08 - 10:48 am
0
0
More of the usual racist

More of the usual racist rants from the usual racist rascals of Richmond County. Come November of 08, you can bet that Obama's change will bring us a park and so much more.

PastorPaul
0
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PastorPaul 05/13/08 - 10:53 am
0
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I am all for putting a zoo

I am all for putting a zoo where the old Regency mall is. It will give Augusta some place to put the animals that are running its streets.

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