Downtown stadium is still a bad idea

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I am writing in response to the article Aug. 1 about a proposed downtown baseball stadium ("Mayor seeks project backing").

A few months ago, I wrote in response to Mayor Deke Copenhaver's plans, and had many calls from citizens who agreed with me. I still cannot believe that this idea is still around. Also, not one leader in our community I have spoken with is in favor of the project.

I, like the mayor's family, have many properties in Richmond County, so I am all in favor of the stadium happening, as it will help me personally as it will stimulate properties that I own. But here are the problems.

The majority of the population is west of downtown (not central); the existing stadium does not fill up regularly; the existing stadium is relatively new and very nice; there will be no additional travelers coming to the new stadium, as our market for these fans stops halfway between Augusta, Atlanta, Macon and Columbia, S.C. (people won't be staying overnight and filling hotel rooms, as they will drive home after a game); we have a civic center that is failing; and there is not enough parking.

Field of Dreams is my favorite movie, but downtown can not be a field of dreams our citizens should pay for. I will not support any SPLOST package that encompasses funding for a new stadium. We need to find residential and commercial users for downtown to increase the tax base.

Billy Franke

Evans

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TruthJusticeFaithHope
229
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TruthJusticeFaithHope 08/10/08 - 06:33 am
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Deke doesn't ask for much...

Deke doesn't ask for much... and he has done a great job dealing with the divisive members of the commission. If there was a little more room where the ball park is proposed, I would support it...but as it is now planned, there is not. Deke may get what he wants, but I say: be careful what you wish for.

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 08/10/08 - 08:28 am
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Our civic center is failing

Our civic center is failing because of poor management for more then 20 years. No matter where the stadium is built, the majority of the population will be in some direction. West isn't a bad one and there are plenty of east/west arteries. The existing stadium doesn't fill up regularly because it's down a narrow road that many perceive as a bottle neck before they even go there. Few, if any Aiken or North Augusta fans are attracted. As far as parking goes, have you seen how many find parking for a fireworks show? A crowd in excess of 20,000 is common. My point, there are many reasons not to build the stadium down town, but few are very good. Maybe the mayor is more farseeing or maybe he's just been convinced by the new owners of the Greenjackets. It would be nice to see Augusta make a positive effort to grow.

imdstuf
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imdstuf 08/10/08 - 10:39 am
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I do not think it will help

I do not think it will help businesses downtown that much. I do not think tax payers should fund it. Now if Deke finds private investors who want to buy the land for the stadium and parking, then I say go for it. Let them take the risk involved. Gillette Stadium where the Patriots play was privately funded. The Patriots have multiple superbowl wins, Boston loves their sports, but they did not have to pay for their stadium. As for stadium locations. Look where Yankee Stadium is located, or where many other pro stadiums for sports are located Not always in the nicest areas, but fans still go.

coco rubio
53
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coco rubio 08/10/08 - 11:02 am
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gotta love the evans guy

gotta love the evans guy complaining about a downtown stadium.....geesh....when's the last time you've been downtown? a new stadium would be a boost to the growth we've seen over the last 10 years.....the stadium at lake olmstead has NOTHING around it....and it would be great to see a new stadium on the river taking advantage of that location.....mayor deke has done a great job of building a foundation for the future....i'm sure he'll be able to work out a fair deal to make this happen......i've supported him in the past....and will continue to do so in the future......

Crazy Irish
0
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Crazy Irish 08/10/08 - 11:24 am
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Not so fast Coco... The

Not so fast Coco... The stadium at Olmstead has two very important things. Tax payers who live in the surrounding neighborhoods and a project. If the stadium goes away the criminal element that has now moved into the newly renovated project will cause the neighborhood to decline as it did in the 60-70s. I went to the boys club on Division street and I saw the decline. By keeping the stadium where it is the criminal element will not be able to revive the Gilbert Manor days. I know you mean well ... bless your heart, but a new stadium isn't the answer. I don't come downtown much because parking is so bad. Here's an idea. Fill in the holes I.M. Pei dug in the street and give us more parking. And take down the stupid building in the middle of the street TAKING UP PARKING! Finally, stop allowing people who practice obstuction politics to get away with it............ just a few thoughts

coco rubio
53
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coco rubio 08/10/08 - 11:45 am
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so....let me get this

so....let me get this right.....we need to keep lake olmstead stadium open so that the housing project doesn't become gilbert manor? that makes no sense to me at all.....and parking will always be an issue if people don't like to walk 2 or 3 blocks.....though i do see a new parking deck in the plans as downtown augusta georgia continues to evolve.....is a downtown stadium the answer? of course not....it's just part of a puzzle that will make our city center the kind of place that will bring people together from all over the area.....let's move forward not backwards.

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 08/10/08 - 11:50 am
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Wow. There's some strange

Wow. There's some strange perspective I never even suspected.

RonRoberts
66
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RonRoberts 08/10/08 - 12:55 pm
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Here's a question I've

Here's a question I've posed... how come the Chronicle won't publish letters rebutting their own anti-stadium rants, nor those opposing letters in opposition to the proposed downtown stadium? Talk about an AGENDA. The ONE time a major downtown venue is proposed withOUT Billy Morris' name attached to it, and lo and behold, the paper's against it. Mayor Deke and the stadium commission are DEAD ON with this project. The stadium at Lake Olmstead will never be more than it is; building a new stadium downtown provides more parking options, (downtown handles fireworks crowds - a ballgame would be NOTHING) pre-and post-game dining and entertainment options, neverMIND sidewalks and street lights to walk to and from the game and your vehicle. The stadium's proximity to large hotels WILL boost in-game attendance, but will also give downtown a large venue for concerts and festivals that have either not happened in Augusta at all, or have been crammed into make-shift spaces along the Riverwalk. With this stadium, the convention space, the new TEE Center and the Augusta Common, downtown almost has all the tools necessary to net Augusta larger conventions and gatherings.

crazyoldman
21
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crazyoldman 08/10/08 - 01:56 pm
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I don't get into baseball.

I don't get into baseball. That is one of the reasons I would rather have the Drag strip and I agree with a post from a while back about putting it behind the hotel across from the X-mart on Gordon Hwy. where the old trash dump used to be.

North Richmond County
0
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North Richmond County 08/10/08 - 02:09 pm
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Somebody in evans is trying

Somebody in evans is trying to tell whats good for downtown. Nothing against evans or people outside of augusta. But we need downtown to boom. What major city in america doesn't have a stadium somewhere near downtown. The new stadium, drag strip, tee center, hotel/condo on the common, library, judicial center, kroc center, are all good for augusta. I would support a water park over the drag strip. But the stadium is a no brainer. Especially since cal ripken jr is behind it.

carrera gt
0
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carrera gt 08/10/08 - 02:33 pm
0
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Augusta's track record, when

Augusta's track record, when it comes to over-hyping downtown-changing projects, should be clear. Does anyone remember that the Discovery Center was going to need huge parking lots for the thousands of daily visitors? Does anyone remember the many tourists who would be flocking to Woodrow Wilson's boyhood home? Does anyone remember the shopping center beneath the Port Royal condos? Does anyone remember that Riverwalk was going to make Augusta a regional destination? Does anyone remember the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame and Gardens and the promise that people would travel to Augusta from all over to visit it? More people go to the South Augusta Flea Market every weekend than to these "attractions" combined. So, what will taxpayers do with the baseball stadium when the team leaves? Who will clean out the cobwebs? Will there be money budgeted to keep the empty stadium neat and clean? The projects mentioned in this note were just as exciting and promising, in their day, as this stadium is.

crazyoldman
21
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crazyoldman 08/10/08 - 02:37 pm
0
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Now you're talkin. A water

Now you're talkin. A water park on the river. That's the ticket. That would be a good place to go and cool off after the races. yeah!!!!!

Little Lamb
46921
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Little Lamb 08/10/08 - 02:55 pm
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To JayWalker, Turner field is

To JayWalker, Turner field is farther away from Atlanta's downtown than our GreenJacket field (at Lake Olmstead) is from Augusta's downtown.

Little Lamb
46921
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Little Lamb 08/10/08 - 02:57 pm
0
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To JayWalker: Cal Ripken,

To JayWalker: Cal Ripken, Jr. is behind building a baseball stadium on Reynolds street as long as it is build with someone's money other than his own. I don't want it built with my tax money.

Little Lamb
46921
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Little Lamb 08/10/08 - 02:59 pm
0
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To Carrera GT, your comments

To Carrera GT, your comments are right on the mark. "Investment" using taxpayer money does not bring the financial windfall that the politicians and the "project pitchers" promise.

crazyoldman
21
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crazyoldman 08/10/08 - 03:01 pm
0
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Oh yeah, and just think of

Oh yeah, and just think of all them girls in them little bitty yellow polka dot bikinis at the water park.

No_Longer_Amazed
5143
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No_Longer_Amazed 08/10/08 - 03:11 pm
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carrera gt: A lot of people

carrera gt: A lot of people do not remember those previous unfufilled promises and unfortunately they will be led down the same path as before.

crazyoldman
21
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crazyoldman 08/10/08 - 03:12 pm
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Talking about tax money, I

Talking about tax money, I don't think nonproptery owners should be allowed to vote on any tax issiues anywhere anytime. Think about it. Renters could care less if our taxes go up.

imdstuf
10
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imdstuf 08/10/08 - 03:45 pm
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Carrera has a good memory.

Carrera has a good memory. Too bad others do not. I am not saying the stadium would be a failure. It would draw the Geenjackets fans, but I doubt it would bring alot more fans than they draw now. We are talking moving the stadium a distance of a few miles...and again, just because people will go to the games, does not mean they are going to walk from the stadium if its on Reynolds Street to the few restaurants on Reynolds or all the way over to Broad Street. They will get in their cars and head home/back to restaurants shops they are familiar with.

North Richmond County
0
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North Richmond County 08/10/08 - 04:12 pm
0
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I see why augusta is the way

I see why augusta is the way it is. All you people are so negative. Exactly what should they build downtown then. Because you're against the drag strip, trolley, stadium, and the canal. What exactly do you want downtown then. And augusta mall new promenade was built and the parking has been jammed packed ever since. I'm glad none of you people are running the government you're against anything getting built. Imdstuf the stadium will be a multi use facility. Which means retail, residential components also. If you don't think developers won't invest around the stadium please. Little lamb cal ripken jr is putting alot of his own money behind the project. If he didn't believe in augusta. First he wouldn't have brought the greenjackets. And second he wouldn't want to invest his money into a new stadium.

Little Lamb
46921
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Little Lamb 08/10/08 - 04:17 pm
0
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So far, the newspaper has not

So far, the newspaper has not printed any verifiable statements of whether or how much money Cal Ripken would sink into the stadium. My guess is zero.

iletuknow
8
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iletuknow 08/10/08 - 04:28 pm
0
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Too many undesirables in

Too many undesirables in downtown Augusta. That is why it is a ghost town. Until a solution is found to bring them under control,nothing will succeed.

crazyoldman
21
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crazyoldman 08/10/08 - 04:56 pm
0
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Remember the Savannah River

Remember the Savannah River raft race? Augusta said no beer so, Budweiser said no sponser, and the rest is history.

FedupwithAUG
0
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FedupwithAUG 08/10/08 - 06:53 pm
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what a waste of valuable

what a waste of valuable land. I still think they should build "Augusta Garden Walk" like a lot of other have done. A basic outdoor mall with all kinds of shops, restaurants oh and bars (sorry Coco not what you wanted to hear). Something like Coco Walk in Coconut Creek Fl or Misner Park in Boca Raton FL. One that was just built in Anaheim Ca called oddly enough "Anaheim Garden Walk" would be an ideal model, we can save taxpayers money by not doing a study. Laff

SlapShot2
0
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SlapShot2 08/10/08 - 08:38 pm
0
0
Funny how most of those that

Funny how most of those that bash the idea live in Columbia County. If we all took the idea that nothing will work where would we be? Have faith and trying looking at the big picture for once or we will always be stuck in the 70's.

truth-now
0
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truth-now 08/11/08 - 09:03 am
0
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If any of you have visited

If any of you have visited other cities similar in size to Augusta, which have baseball stadiums downtown, you would see the re-development and improvement of the properties. The catalyst in every one of those cities has been the stadium. The city officials readily admit it ... and brag about it. That is what Deke is trying to do. Find a catalyst to re-invigorate downtown. Make it a place people want to sink their own money into ventures, developments, shops, restaurants, offices, etc. The developers see that this renewed interest is already coming. Look at the Whites building, as well as the plans to develop the Depot. BRAVO, Deke! Lead the charge and don't listen to the naysayers... especially on the CHRONICLE's web site (including this page).

FallingLeaves
27
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FallingLeaves 08/11/08 - 10:23 pm
0
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I don't live in Columbia

I don't live in Columbia County, I live in Richmond County. I have lived here since 1960's. I think the present stadium is close enough to downtown already. I wouldn't mind if it was farther out, near main roads. But moving into the already tight parking areas downtown? It's hard enough finding parking in that area already for the present venues! I would like to share your enthusiasm for this "multi-use facility", but I just don't. I'm going to ask around my circle of friends and see what they think, and get back to you. I'd like to see what some of my more sport-minded friends think.

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