Proposal for park focuses on mall

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.