Bridge to tomorrow

Project manager John Shields explains the plan for Westobou River Crossing. For more video and information, click here to visit our special section on the master plan.
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The vision of the future Augusta and North Augusta features hundreds of new houses along the Augusta Canal and a revitalized shopping district along Broad Street that links to a new riverfront baseball stadium.

It envisions a Savannah River amphitheater flanked by a new art museum and symphonic hall and millions of dollars invested in new parks.

The Augusta Tomorrow urban core development plan released Wednesday also suggests extending Broad Street into a new Sand Bar Ferry area housing subdivision, closing the Fifth Street bridge to traffic to create a pedestrian shopping bridge, and building a multimillion-dollar health sciences research park along the newly created St. Sebastian Way.

In all, Boston-based consulting firm ICON Architecture Inc. conceived of an estimated $1.5 billion in potential development projects for Augusta and North Augusta over the next 20 years.

"I think we've plowed new ground; it is planting fertile seeds that will get this whole area to grow in the future. It is something that will be the envy of the Southeast and the rest of the nation," said Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver, standing in the middle of the Fifth Street bridge Wednesday with North Augusta Mayor Lark Jones.

Augusta Tomorrow, a private group of visionaries, deemed its first master plan, completed in 1982, a success and embarked last year on a new master plan with a scope stretching beyond downtown.

"This is not a plan for Augusta that North Augusta has been a part of. This is not a plan for North Augusta that Augusta has been a part of," Mr. Jones said. "This is a plan for the whole area with the ultimate goal of us being able to do things that can compliment each other and make this a better place."

Augusta Tomorrow spent $275,000 on the plan. Of that, $95,000 came from the Augusta Commission, $31,000 from the North Augusta City Council and the rest from private donations.

The 200-page plan focuses on nine "market creation projects" that could revitalize neighborhoods in both cities. The projects are clusters of other projects that would create a destination attraction and be a catalyst for other development, said John Shields, a principal with ICON.

Many of the projects involve development along the river and the Augusta Canal. Those are resources that have been underused, Mr. Shields said.

The new plan is historic in that it represents a regional strategy focused on both sides of the Savannah River, said Braye Boardman, the chairman of the Augusta Tomorrow master plan task force.

"We are not only excited about the projects and the detail of the plan, but we're really excited about the joint planning effort by two communities that didn't have a lot of coordinated effort," Mr. Boardman said. "The river was the dividing line between North Augusta and Augusta. People go back and forth to work and to play all day, but we never did any joint planning."

Each of the projects involves a combination of public and private investment.

Mr. Boardman said the plan doesn't point to the city governments as "sugar daddies" to fund the projects.

"ICON is clearly putting the responsibility of getting these projects done on the various champions in the community," Mr. Boardman said.

The next step depends on community leaders or organizations adopting an idea and working to complete it. ICON suggested Augusta hire a development coordinator to oversee the plan's implementation.

ICON senior principal John Lane described the plan as a vision, but not "the recipe for the stew."

He also said a recession is a good time to have the pieces in place to begin work when the money becomes available to start the projects.

Reach Tim Rausch at (706) 823-3352 or timothy.rausch@augustachronicle.com.

Market creation projects

Learn more about each of the nine revitalization projects in the new Augusta/North Augusta Urban Core Master Plan.

Read the complete master plan online by visiting www.augustatomorrow.com.

  • The Big Idea: A town center can be created around the new municipal building.
    Cost: $50 million private, $5 million public
  • The Big Idea: Tie Augusta and North Augusta together with a waterfront development spanning the Savannah River.
    Cost: $90 million private, $25 million public
  • The Big Idea: Redevelop vacant riverfront land into an arts and entertainment center.
    Cost: $80 million private, $30 million public
  • The Big Idea: Revitalize three blocks of Broad Street into a unique urban village.
    Cost: $150 million private, $50 million public
  • The Big Idea: Create a residential neighborhood on Greene and Telfair streets around a new Third Level Canal park.
    Cost: $140 million private, $8 million public
  • The Big Idea: Reinforce the connection between the medical district and downtown with a new high-tech campus.
    Cost: $500 million private/non-profit, $38 million public
  • The Big Idea: Give Harrisburg a new image and identity with a mixed-use retail center.
    Cost: $100 million private, $25 million public
  • The Big Idea: Capitalize on the new judicial center to create housing and commercial space around Dyess Park.
    Cost: $50 million private, $17 million public
  • The Big Idea: Develop a mile of forgotten riverfront land with parks and a "new urbanist" village.
    Cost: $100 million private, $38 million public

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patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 02/05/09 - 06:24 am
0
0
A specific goal to shoot for

A specific goal to shoot for is a new concept for this area and it's about time Augusta took this important first step. I would like to see the definition for "mixed use" redefined in an upward manner, though.

Brad Owens
4290
Points
Brad Owens 02/05/09 - 06:55 am
0
0
1.5 Billion but we can't

1.5 Billion but we can't balance the budget now? I mean this is what you get when you hire firms from VERY far out of town to figure out Augusta for us. "Augusta Tomorrow spent $275,000 on the plan. Of that, $95,000 came from the Augusta Commission" More useful tax dollars spend on useless plans that will never be acted on. I look at all the studies done over the past ten years and all I see is a whole lot of consultants and group directors getting paid piles of cash to prodice crap no one will read anyway. All one needs to do is drive around the city and unless you are blind the NEEDS are screaming at you. How about we spend money on fixing what we have before we plot out another 1.5 billion dollars worth of stuff we will negelect later? How many potholes can be filled with $275,000? How many sidewalks can be poured? How many trash cans can be bought and emptied? How many benches can be placed? How many parks can be kept clean and safe? How many deputies can this fund for downtown? How many streetlights would this fund? How many of anything we NEED would this money have been better spent on? This is a perfect example why Augusta is in the shape its in, screwed up PRIORITIES

GACopperhead
6
Points
GACopperhead 02/05/09 - 07:06 am
0
0
I'm sure you would, pt, you

I'm sure you would, pt, you elitist boob.

Brad Owens
4290
Points
Brad Owens 02/05/09 - 07:13 am
0
0
PT, I love you, but things

PT, I love you, but things like this are a waste of time till augusta gets itself on track and stops the tax base from shrinking, creates jobs, and produces a better quality of life. We need a workable solution to the pressing immediate problems and that should be the priority, not pie-in-the-sky dreaming that cost over a quarter of a million dollars to produce! Plans like this allow people, like the Mayor, to look like they are doing something when the city is broke, and getting more broke by the day. SPLOST is the ONLY thing that has saved Augusta from being in terrible shape. Just take a look at all teh SPLOST monies laying around from all four of them and see who is getting the benifit. Its the bankers that have it in their accounts. Take a look at how much is 're-programmed' after no one is looking. I get so [filtered word] off when I read puff peices like this that are designed to mislead the public about the actual usefulness of plans like these. take a look at the one did in 1982 and tell me that we are living in that city now they talked about then. What makes you think that the city is in better shape now to implement THIS one as opposed to that one then? NEEDS not WANTS!

ColCo
712
Points
ColCo 02/05/09 - 07:46 am
0
0
The headline should read

The headline should read "Bridge to Fantasyland". Brad, you are right, Augusta loves to study and do nothing. The city wants the state to give them the Golf Hall property and in the same breath wants to embark on a project that involves $1.26 billion in private/non-profit money and $236 million in public funds? How about a realistic plan that has achievable short and long term goals instead of a collection of pie in the sky projects.

My_2nd
0
Points
My_2nd 02/05/09 - 07:50 am
0
0
lmao....that all sounds real

lmao....that all sounds real nice. too bad the augusta commission can't even decide what to have for lunch on a daily basis. how much did this grand plan cost the tax payers again?

SCGAL53
0
Points
SCGAL53 02/05/09 - 07:56 am
0
0
It's a great plan if Augusta

It's a great plan if Augusta could get it's act together. This plan would create jobs during construction as well as afterwards. We all know it can't happen overnight, but why not start somewhere?

Brad Owens
4290
Points
Brad Owens 02/05/09 - 08:01 am
0
0
ColCo, They are spending

ColCo, They are spending almost $400,000 to study the sidewalks downtown using 'ground penetration radars' so they can upgrade the crosswalks to meet handicapped federal requirements. Does it REALLY take $400,000 to plan to install cross walks? They say yes, I say not so much. What about the $65.000 for the parking study that then DDA member Sanford Lloyd promised the commission that if funded, would “Not sit on the shelf” but it has for five years. The list goes on and on with these. What about the efficiency study done after consolidation that costed a pretty penny and was all but ignored? It’s just taking good hard earned tax dollars and throwing them away on NOTHING when we have so many real NEEDS! I am screaming at a deaf person anyway with all this. No one cared when I was on the DAP, DDA, MainStreet, ect…so they do even less now I am sure.

Tujeez1
0
Points
Tujeez1 02/05/09 - 08:12 am
0
0
Just like Backwards Augusta

Just like Backwards Augusta Politics. Last Year the DEMs Raised the ROOF over Alaska's"Bridge to Nowhere" and this year they're lauding Augusta's "Bridge to Tomorrow". The pundits just can't see it......Both bridges have fictional destinations, just different launching points. Yeah, that's gonna work. More of the Same ol' Change, from our pocket to.....aww you figure it out!!!

augustadog
88
Points
augustadog 02/05/09 - 08:27 am
0
0
I think it is a good start.

I think it is a good start. When I think back of Downtown Augusta in the late fifties and early 60's, I remember an exciting hustle bustle of commerce and activity. There is no reason not to revitalize and bring it back to some opportunities for construction jobs, affordable housing and decent storefronts. Brad, you need to move!!!

ripjones
2
Points
ripjones 02/05/09 - 08:55 am
0
0
No, actually, Brad is right

No, actually, Brad is right on the mark. Over the years we have paid for "studies" to be done, and then not utilized the data, because we didn't like what study concluded. I would love to see Downtown Augusta vital again, but the first thing that has to happen is BOTh Broad St. and Jones St have to be disinfected of the lowlife pieces of human waste that attack innocent people that actually chose to live downtown. I sent DDA an email after I learned of a friend of mine who was attacked and brutally beaten in Downtow Augusta. The Director suggested I forward my email to Sheriff Strength's assistant. I did. And to this day, I have not received a response. It's been over a month. Keep talking Brad, you're right.

godogs
0
Points
godogs 02/05/09 - 08:58 am
0
0
I think this is a great first

I think this is a great first step in bringing back downtown. We need to develop all areas of the CSRA not just the West Augusta area. There are people living in all areas, paying taxes in all areas and need decent shopping, dining, activities in all areas. I would love to see some major stores come down town, Old Navy, Gap, some of the smaller but major stores. I would come from Beech Island downtown to shop if there were stores that I could find decent merchandise that I or my kids would wear. We have plenty of pizza joints and such but what about say a Out Back or something, that we around that area didn't have to drive either to Aiken or the other side of Augusta to get to. I am all for the projects and many more. Yea it is a tough economical time but if we don't get on board and get our city in shape and desirable no one will bring companies or jobs to Augusta. Sometimes you have to take one step back to take two forward. Support growth and new vision for our community and volunteer, it is our home we have to be part of it if we want it to grow and prosper. We can't depend on someone else to bring magic to our town we have to create it!

Brad Owens
4290
Points
Brad Owens 02/05/09 - 09:07 am
0
0
augustadog, When you think

augustadog, When you think back with fuzzy eyed nostagia about, "Downtown Augusta in the late fifties and early 60's" you forget that at that time it was the BUSINESS and RETAIL hub of the CSRA. The Malls killed that. Downtown will NEVER be the RETAIL center of the CSRA ever again. However, it IS the cultural and artistic center now. The problem is this, the city doesn't take care of downtown NOW. You are talking about public investment in PRIVATE industry. Why not public investment in maintaing what the PUBLIC already owns downtown? hell, with just the moeny they wasted on this study we could have made som much needed repairs. And FYI, I live in West Africa not Augusta, but my house is in RC and I pay taxes there, so I hate to see MY money wasted and YOU should too.

sprintman
0
Points
sprintman 02/05/09 - 09:15 am
0
0
Wasn't the Riverwalk, Augusta

Wasn't the Riverwalk, Augusta common, and the Augusta canal on the master plan. 20 or so year's ago. All three of them are completed if Im not mistaken right. Look at how many people said the RIVERWALK would never get built. But it did because people worked together for a common goal. There will always be nasayers who will say things can't be done. Augusta just keep moving forward like you're doing now. We have the library, judicial center, jb townhomes, cancer research center, st. sebastian way, green building, emporium and more projects happening in downtown now. Not to metnion the new houses in Laney walker, dyess park area, Old Towne, and Harrisburg.

sprintman
0
Points
sprintman 02/05/09 - 09:22 am
0
0
brad owens thats why we don't

brad owens thats why we don't need you in charge. You already have a bad way of thinking. Deke and other people sure do think downtown can become the business hub of the CSRA which it already is. Unless you're saying the medical district is. Because most of the good jobs are in downtown. But it can become the retail hub of the CSRA like it once was. If downtown Brooklyn can do it. Then Downtown Augusta can too. Especially considering we have alot less undesirable areas and rough sides than Downtown Brooklyn.

sprintman
0
Points
sprintman 02/05/09 - 09:25 am
0
0
People said and thought that

People said and thought that the Riverwalk would never get built either. I love dreamers and visionaires. Those are your most successful people in america. People that can see things even before they take place. Because they already have a plan in their mind on what they want to do. Small minded thinkers are the one's who struggle in life.

Mongol
0
Points
Mongol 02/05/09 - 09:26 am
0
0
The city will run into

The city will run into problems because the powers that be want all development to go to Columbia County. CC will approach these developers and intice some of them to build in CC.

Brad Owens
4290
Points
Brad Owens 02/05/09 - 10:17 am
0
0
spiritman, you are quite

spiritman, you are quite wrong. The Riverwalk is NOT finished. The Augusta Commons is NOT finished, and the Augusta Canal 'master plan' stuff is also NOT finished. And let me be clear about this, YOU all need to READ what I write and try to comprehend. Why do I get called 'negative' and a 'nay-sayer' when I am pointing out that you believe in this fantasy? Every time I point out to your greenies the PAST you say I am against downtown? If you all READ what I write you will see that I am AGAINST these groups that are supposed to be helping sucking up much needed dollars for useless study after study when the NEEDS are obvious! How about I say that vision coupled with near inaction while costing me/us 100's of thousands of dollars is NOT an acceptable course for progress for me as a tax payer? Is THAT negative? Is it negative to point out how always 'planning' to do something is NOT doing something other than trying to look like you are doing something? You keep eating the crap they give you believing it's apple sauce OK? But here in the real world when I pay someone to do a job I expect it to be done. I demand that the basics (what we have already) be fixed and maintained FIRST

Chuchi
2
Points
Chuchi 02/05/09 - 10:22 am
0
0
Well, everyone knows that the

Well, everyone knows that the Augusta/Richmond County Commission and the various governing bodies never argue, angrily disagree, fight, or push each other on the floor and bellow obscenities or fling inappropriate racist accusations at each other during meetings. We know that all of these folks are single-mindedly and passionately dedicated to the economic development of this area with no personal interest whatsoever and will do whatever it takes to get along in a peaceful, mature and adult manner to further the revitalization cause. Therefore, I have no doubt at all that this plan will one day soon be realized in its entirety, just as the Georgia Golf Museum was a smashing success right from its inception, and there was no waste of time, money, or energy in that grand plan. So by all means, keep it up, commissioners! Spend some more of our money! You go with your bad selves!

Brad Owens
4290
Points
Brad Owens 02/05/09 - 10:32 am
0
0
sprintman, you said, "I love

sprintman, you said, "I love dreamers and visionaries. Those are your most successful people in America. People that can see things even before they take place. Because they already have a plan in their mind on what they want to do. Small minded thinkers are the ones who struggle in life." Give me one example of one of these REALLY successful people who planned their way to the top without taking action on any of the planning. Show me a visionary that didn't have to sacrifice and work hard to see it come to pass. Show me a dreamer that asks for $275,000 to tell you the dream. The facts are obvious. You can accept what these people tell you at face value OR you can do what I do which is to DEMAND results. Don't tell me SHOW me. That is why they hated me on these boards; I was practical, frugal, and demanded results in a timely manner. They called me rude, arrogant, and too demanding (and an arsehole a time or two as well). Well surprise surprise, Government doesn't like to be held to private business standards of results for the money verses service. Either way, I can tell you're very young and idealistic or haven't been paying attention to what goes on in Augusta for very long.

Brad Owens
4290
Points
Brad Owens 02/05/09 - 10:40 am
0
0
Chuchi, you GET it. Well

Chuchi, you GET it. Well written and right on the money. By the way, your name, are you a tunnel rat? Non-Gratum Anus Rodentum

jack
10
Points
jack 02/05/09 - 10:56 am
0
0
Keep Augusta on theri side of

Keep Augusta on theri side of the river. North Augusta is clean, quiet and city government very responsive. Let's keep it that way.

Riverman1
82450
Points
Riverman1 02/05/09 - 10:58 am
0
0
(It's Cu Chi, Vietnam, by the

(It's Cu Chi, Vietnam, by the way.) It is an excellent plan. What is needed now is work to create a method to ensure the plan is followed. A plan is great, but there has to be a follow-up method to keep it on track. Let's move forward. Prioritize and monitor carefully.

bigalsc
4
Points
bigalsc 02/05/09 - 11:19 am
0
0
Seems to me that the Master

Seems to me that the Master Plan of 20 years ago has been substantially implemented. This plan is highly visionary and has many great elements to it. I especiallly like the MCG expansion concepts. Brad, lighten up, Rome wasn't built in a day. Augusta is moving forward. Housing prices are up, not down. Mercedes is building a new dealership. Expanded upscale grocery on Washington Road. And has anyone noticed how the city seems cleaner recently? Brad, your thinking is skewed. Bitter, Bitter, party of one!

lifelongresidient
0
Points
lifelongresidient 02/05/09 - 11:20 am
0
0
lets see...another study+an

lets see...another study+an estimated contribution of 288 million by richmond county over 20 years.....don't forget the 95000 already paid the only visionaries are the slick hucksters who convinced the 10 morons on the commission to approve the study and authorize payment. with the economy in a recession you would think they would wait until things get better as opposed to authorizing payment on a project that is not affordable at this time...no wonder augusta the beautiful city that it is, is the laughing stock of the csra and the state...there are idiots running the city!!!!!!!

ONLY THE TRUTH
2
Points
ONLY THE TRUTH 02/05/09 - 11:29 am
0
0
Don't be so negative. After

Don't be so negative. After all, anyone who proposes building the city stable right next door to the golden harvest organic farm is a genius. Just imagine....they can shovel the horse sh-- right over the fence to feed the garden. As a matter of fact it seems that there is a lot of sh-- shoveling involved with this plan!!

Brad Owens
4290
Points
Brad Owens 02/05/09 - 11:29 am
0
0
bigalsc, looks like there are

bigalsc, looks like there are some more folks on here that agree with me so I am not so alone in my wanting the city to not waste dollars on studies that will NEVER be funded. And I beg to differ that the original plan was followed. It wasn't until SPLOST came along that it was REALLY done besides the Riverwalk, which has been a complete failure if you go by the original promises that were made surrounding it.

karmakills123
8
Points
karmakills123 02/05/09 - 11:33 am
0
0
I'm with you jack....I feel

I'm with you jack....I feel for Augustas problems...but keep them and their "visionaries" OUT of North Augusta........

cdharrison
23
Points
cdharrison 02/05/09 - 12:06 pm
0
0
Michael Allen Studios
0
Points
Michael Allen Studios 02/05/09 - 12:22 pm
0
0
Augusta does love to spend

Augusta does love to spend money on studies. I remember the firm in Duluth, Georgia that did a study on the need for a convention center and new arena. What did we get for the large fee they charged?
I along with my partner have a company that build architectural models. We have already developed a plan for the area in North
Augusta near the abandon 5th Street bridge, and built a model. We also have a model of a mid-town development near the new judicial center in downtown Augusta. (Telfair Station)
The plan presented yesterday for the next twenty five years ia a drawing. We could do the same thing and built a model for show at a much less expence for Augusta and North Augusta. I believe that we can decide here in this area what projects we want and spend the money locally.
We are ready and willing to help with this process. We can take local ideas and turn them into a model that the public can see and understand what they are going to get.

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