Panel agrees to swap for library site

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Augusta's new main library is closer to construction because of a property swap city commissioners approved Tuesday.

The board voted to swap property the city owns at 1328 Baker Ave. for an apartment building at 842 Greene St. that will be demolished to make way for the library.

The city agreed to exchange 1.52 acres at Baker Avenue and Wrightsboro Road and pay Augusta Properties Ltd., the owner of the building and 0.296 acres at Greene and Ninth streets, $487,000, which will be used to renovate buildings on the Baker Avenue property.

Acquiring the Greene Street apartment building has been complicated because it was government subsidized housing, and the existing tenants had to be relocated into other Section 8 housing.

In other action Tuesday, commissioners approved increasing the cost to homeowners for street lighting. The cost will go from 5 cents per linear foot to 24 cents per linear foot for each foot of frontage. It will cost property owners $5 to $24 more a year.

City Traffic Engineer Steve Cassell said the rate has not been increased in 10 years, and increased power costs have created shortfalls in the street lighting fund that have had to be subsidized by the general fund.

Also, City Administrator Fred Russell recommended the former human resources director for Escambia County, Fla., to fill the Augusta position.

Mr. Russell recommended Rod Powell, currently president of Strategic Planning & Process Improvement in Escambia County. Mr. Powell also was the human resources director in Gwinnett County from 2000 to 2003.

Commissioners are expected to vote on the recommendation in two weeks.

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

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What4
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What4 08/06/08 - 08:59 am
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That is amazing..the

That is amazing..the Government can take my house (that I own) at any time (immanent domain) but Section 8 squatters can not be be evicted from a property that they do not own; where the same government pays for them to live. Unreal!!

FedupwithAUG
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FedupwithAUG 08/07/08 - 03:34 am
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This is crazy. So us

This is crazy. So us taxpayers just paid 487,000 plus the 285,000 they payed for the baker property and the 200,000 plus it will take to demolish this property? A million dollar deal and just one other comment? What are the people of Richmond county that stupid? Besides I thought the library site was already set? Just how big is this Library going to be? I agree with What? This is a classic case or immanent domain. Augusta has plenty of other propery in the area this is simply a waste of taxpayer money! This Library is costing us big bucks! Isn't there a lawsuit already pending because the Commission took a bid to demolish the site that was higher then the lowest bidder? As I remember they gave it to a minority contractor that bid 200,000 more then another contractor. They agreed to pay more because they thought they would dump the remains at the county landfill and make it back In fees. But guess what they dumped it somewhere in South Carolina. And now the other company is gowing to win the lawsuit. So here we go again getting screwed by the commission. Will be interesting to see who wins this bid to demolish this building.

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