South Augusta master plan sought

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Impressed with the downtown master plan unveiled last month, the Augusta Commission took steps Tuesday to have another one drawn up for the rest of the city, with a focus on areas south of Gordon Highway.

By a unanimous vote, the commission told City Administrator Fred Russell to negotiate with Boston-based ICON Architecture Inc., which spent nearly a year drawing up the downtown plan sponsored by Augusta Tomorrow, on a fee for picking up where it left off.

"There is a greater Augusta, and not just a downtown Augusta," said Commissioner Don Grantham, who made the motion.

Mr. Russell was also charged with figuring out a way to pay for it.

The downtown plan cost $275,000 -- $95,000 from Augusta, $31,000 from North Augusta and the rest from private donations. It conceived of an estimated $1.5 billion in projects for Augusta and North Augusta during the next 20 years.

Whatever the larger plan costs, Mr. Grantham said the city would likely pay for part of it, and he's hoping some of south Augusta's industries and employers will chip in, too. The cities of Hephzibah and Blythe might also contribute.

ICON could be hired without a bid process, Mr. Russell said, because its work is considered "professional services," an exception under city code.

Last week Mayor Pro Tem Alvin Mason, the chairman of the commission's South Augusta Development Initiative, said he has been quietly putting together a rough draft of a south Augusta master plan, soliciting ideas from stakeholders -- developers, banks and major employers such as International Paper, Procter & Gamble, E-Z-Go Textron and Thermal Ceramics.

Mr. Mason said last week that he wants to avoid shouldering taxpayers with the study and that he hopes some of those stakeholders will be willing to foot the bill. He refused to talk to a reporter after Tuesday's meeting.

Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or johnny.edwards@augustachronicle.com.

IN OTHER ACTION

If voters approve the $184.7 million special-purpose sales tax package June 16, City Administrator Fred Russell wants Augusta commissioners to authorize issuing up to $47 million in general obligation bonds, depending on market conditions. Collecting funds through the 1-cent sales tax takes years, and Mr. Russell is hoping to get the money quickly to pay for airport projects, the new sheriff's office administration building, a new jail pod and payback of the $10 million given to the Medical College of Georgia to buy the Gilbert Manor public housing project.

On Tuesday, commissioners authorized Mr. Russell to negotiate a fee with Atlanta law firm Kilpatrick Stockton to act as bond counsel.

In the continuing sales tax process, the commission also authorized Mayor Deke Copenhaver to sign agreements with Hephzibah and Blythe and have Mr. Russell present them to their city governments. The package includes $4.4 million for Hephzibah and $1.3 million for Blythe.

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patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 03/04/09 - 04:37 am
0
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It's a beginning. South

It's a beginning. South Augusta needs to be addressed. There's a reason for its reputation and Augusta needs the perception of the area to improve.

Just My Opinion
6251
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Just My Opinion 03/04/09 - 04:44 am
0
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I agree that something needs

I agree that something needs to be done to help South Augusta, but I can't help but see this motion as just something to pacify the people who live there. No way are they going to put money into South Augusta before they put it toward downtown. One more thing, can't they find ANYONE to do this study without it costing so dang much? I think it's ridiculous to pay someone that much for dreamy plans that pretty much amount to using your imagination and looking "outside the box". And one more thing, who is Alvin Mason to refuse an interview with a reporter? Didn't take long for that elected official to fill the role, huh?

My_2nd
0
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My_2nd 03/04/09 - 06:16 am
0
0
my south augusta master plan

my south augusta master plan includes the nuclear option.

Riverman1
93350
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Riverman1 03/04/09 - 07:38 am
0
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That was unlike Alvin Mason

That was unlike Alvin Mason to refuse speaking to the reporter. Possibly he had something pressing and it was unfair for the article to mention the refusal. Mason has been coming along nicely as a responsive, level headed Commissioner. His military background as an NCO is evident in his conduct.

Little Lamb
48907
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Little Lamb 03/04/09 - 07:39 am
0
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Oh, boy. Another "study,"

Oh, boy. Another "study," and another report to gather dust in a drawer on Greene Street. I'd rather see a city worker clean out a drainage ditch in south Augusta than see a study.

I4PUTT
5
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I4PUTT 03/04/09 - 08:23 am
0
0
I have a suggetion for a

I have a suggetion for a South Augusta plan. Move

Brad Owens
4906
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Brad Owens 03/04/09 - 09:14 am
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Another STUDY!!!! Surprise!

Another STUDY!!!! Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! I'm sure Don Grantham was holding back laughter as he pretended to care about South Augusta while making these "Greater Augusta" comments. Look, all this will do is send several hunderd thousand dolars to Mass while South Augusta figures out how to develope itself anyway. Anyone see the news about the White Building, one of the showcased items on the 'Master" plan for downtown? Labor liens, law suits, and no money for building anymore. Add that to the one on the old pension property (Depot behind the museum) and you see that all this big-shot development downtown everyone points to as indicators of everything looking up is nothing but PROPAGANDA. And that is all this is too.

watchingfromafar
0
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watchingfromafar 03/04/09 - 10:03 am
0
0
No bid? They are authorizing

No bid? They are authorizing a six figure contract for this study without any bids. They don't even know the cost. If legal, it is certainly not right. There should be a chance for competitive bids.

curly123053
5343
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curly123053 03/04/09 - 10:14 am
0
0
The 1st plan of any master

The 1st plan of any master plan for South Augusta needs to be attacking the gangs and criminal element entrenched there. We saw what these hoodlums did to the Regency Mall. But, it is possible to do something positive to South Augusta and I hope and pray they can.

joebowles
104
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joebowles 03/04/09 - 10:47 am
0
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This is not a study of South

This is not a study of South Augusta, this will include all of Augusta that wasn't in the Augusta Tomorrow study. The costs should be minimal since all of the CSRA data was collected on the first go around.

joebowles
104
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joebowles 03/04/09 - 10:50 am
0
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Brad, The FDIC has frozen the

Brad,
The FDIC has frozen the construction loan on the Whites Building because the Lending Institution has collapsed. The owners can't get there money and can't get refinanced because of our wonderful Government that caused this crisis in the first place.

JackBootedThug
0
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JackBootedThug 03/04/09 - 11:08 am
0
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I'm all for a plan to better

I'm all for a plan to better South Augusta, but why in the world would anyone waste their time soliciting the opinions of industry in South Augusta? Most of them are run by folks that aren't from "around here" and live in Columbia County. I guess maybe the gubment is asking their opinion now so they feel better hitting them up later for money to fund the project later?

MJDW
0
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MJDW 03/04/09 - 11:08 am
0
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South Augusta needs a Kroger,

South Augusta needs a Kroger, Logans, Target, Krystals and the closer to Hephzibah the better!!! We would like to save gas and shop in our area!!!

InChristLove
22485
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InChristLove 03/04/09 - 11:34 am
0
0
Forget Krystals, there's one

Forget Krystals, there's one on Peach Orchard and one on Deans Bridge. How about a Chick-fi-la.

Mongol
0
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Mongol 03/04/09 - 12:30 pm
0
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What part of south augusta

What part of south augusta are we talking about? The areas around Goshen, hepzibah, Tobacco road need some more development. A drug strore, a new supermarket, a jiffy lube,
and maybe two or three new eats would be fine. That area still has hope. Now some parts of South augusta will never come back unless either a) The police crack some skulls or b.) some neighborshoods are razed to the ground.

6Romans23
0
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6Romans23 03/04/09 - 12:32 pm
0
0
I love my South Augusta home

I love my South Augusta home and community. More so than I did my columbia County one. Since Augusta is a consolidated government, they recieve all of our taxes, yes they need to do more for us here! And no, not blow money on a dern survey

Mongol
0
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Mongol 03/04/09 - 12:35 pm
0
0
Roman what part of SA are you

Roman what part of SA are you in?

Mongol
0
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Mongol 03/04/09 - 12:40 pm
0
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You know this is just talk 10

You know this is just talk 10 years ago there was supposed to be a Super Target coming to SA. It's the same old talk. They do this just to make you think that they are going to do something. The Augusta Gov't is the most corrupt and do nothing group of scally-wags in the state. So many promises and so little results. Hey when is augusta getting the new ballpark, canal, TTE center, blah blah blah.

6Romans23
0
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6Romans23 03/04/09 - 12:43 pm
0
0
I have lived in

I have lived in Hephzibah/McBean for the better part of 30 years

Mongol
0
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Mongol 03/04/09 - 12:54 pm
0
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Can you see all those lots

Can you see all those lots for sale on 56. Plenty of room to build. That Foodlion needs an upgrade badly.

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
11036
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ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 03/04/09 - 01:14 pm
0
0
JoeBowles, why not condemn

JoeBowles, why not condemn the old mall and put your TEE Center there. The owners are neglecting it as it is!

LWEST
0
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LWEST 03/04/09 - 01:15 pm
0
0
Some new eatting places in

Some new eatting places in South Augusta would be great.
Applebees and I hop have been nice additions but how about a Steak house or a Seafood Joint.. And I agree with an earlier post on the Kroger thing , that would be GREAT

joebowles
104
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joebowles 03/04/09 - 01:21 pm
0
0
COLD BEER, How can you have

COLD BEER, How can you have an exhibit center nowhere near hotels and conference rooms???????????

magic
0
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magic 03/04/09 - 01:24 pm
0
0
I see people still want to

I see people still want to bring up the Regency Mall. All South Augustans do is rob and ruin. O. K. What about the time a man drove his car through the Augusta mall. That made national news. There have been high profile crimes in CC and West Augusta, so stop it. South Augusta doesn't need someone to draw some fantastic picture. All South Augusta needs is something like the Augusta Exchange. Put it on Tobacco Rd. and people will come.

KingJames
11
Points
KingJames 03/04/09 - 01:24 pm
0
0
It's nice to hear some folks

It's nice to hear some folks finally upset that they have to travel up the BJExpress for everything. To include industry in the study is only fair because they have certain needs that would have to be addressed. Believe it or not, the makeup of a city is important when companies recruit new employees. Everyone just isn't into golf. Some people don't want to have to travel too far from home to get to work, shopping, and entertainment. If major industries are located on HWY 56, and the closest housing with nearby shopping and entertainment are all on Wheeler Rd, some newcomers might have a problem with that drive everyday. To think that they should have to suck it up or not take the job is crazy, and limits the appeal of the company seeking to recruit a new hire. Also, tearing down everything in SA is not an option. Augusta would go from being the Garden City to be being desolate.

Little Lamb
48907
Points
Little Lamb 03/04/09 - 01:32 pm
0
0
If you want to put the

If you want to put the exhibit center near hotels and conference rooms, you need to put the center on Stevens Creek Rd./Claussen Rd. at I-20.

Little Lamb
48907
Points
Little Lamb 03/04/09 - 01:34 pm
0
0
Look at the first sentece of

Look at the first sentece of this article again. It does not take much to impress our commissioners. Some pretty drawings, some statistics, some pages in a three-ring binder. I'm not impressed.

InChristLove
22485
Points
InChristLove 03/04/09 - 02:02 pm
0
0
Hwy 56 and Tobacco Rd area is

Hwy 56 and Tobacco Rd area is a prime place to build some nice eating establishments like the Harbor Inn, they need a CVS Pharmacy and I'll agree the Food Lion needs some upgrading but (I'll probably get flogged for this statement) unless they get a higher quality of waiters, waitresses, or cashiers, it's not going to do any good. No one likes to shop where the customer service sucks. I can't count the number of times we've gone out to eat to get stuck with a waitress that acts like she'd rather be anywhere but working...too busy chatting with friends or just downright doesn't care about serving you.

No_Longer_Amazed
5146
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No_Longer_Amazed 03/04/09 - 02:36 pm
0
0
Welcome back joebowles. Your

Welcome back joebowles. Your absence from the Commission's SPLOST vote was conspicuous.

Riverman1
93350
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Riverman1 03/04/09 - 02:55 pm
0
0
South Augusta is a fast

South Augusta is a fast growing place that we can all be proud of. But it is already divided into an industrial sector and another residential one. About all a master plan can do is lay out more parks. It is like coming up with a plan for for any suburb. It was more or less done when the housing areas were built.

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