Development is Fennoy's top priority

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Ask Bill Fennoy what's wrong with Augusta, and he'd rather show you than tell you, and he doesn't have to go far.

Bill Fennoy wants to tackle urban blight around his Laney-Walker neighborhood and create jobs for people in the district.  John Curry/Staff
John Curry/Staff
Bill Fennoy wants to tackle urban blight around his Laney-Walker neighborhood and create jobs for people in the district.

Across the street from his house on Dugas Street, in the Laney-Walker neighborhood, there's a rotting abandoned house with an overgrown yard. The woman who lives in a well-kept home next door is having trouble with rats, he said.

"This shouldn't be," Mr. Fennoy said, "and what's so sad is that we just have so much of it."

He fanned out farther in a cruise of nearby neighborhoods, pointing out rows of boarded-up shotgun houses and weeks-old yard waste piled up on lawns. He questions why the weeds behind the fence in the back of East View Community Center have grown six to eight feet tall, and why there are no sidewalks in front of Hornsby Elementary and East Augusta Middle schools.

"As a commissioner, I could find out who's responsible and try to get the right agency to respond," Mr. Fennoy said. "If they need more funds to operate, then try to get the funds for them to do their jobs."

With the endorsement of outgoing Commissioner Betty Beard, Mr. Fennoy is running for the District 1 seat on a platform of economic development and eliminating urban blight, issues sure to resonate in areas such as Laney-Walker and East Augusta, where many of the district's voters live.

He made a name for himself in recent years as one of the last members of the old Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority, which means that while he has experience on the front lines of Augusta politics, he was also part of the infighting that led state legislators to conclude that the board needed an overhaul.

Then there was the brawl with citizen activist Woody Merry in May 2008, which had both men booked for simple battery. Mr. Fennoy was ultimately exonerated -- an investigation led Solicitor Harold Jones to dismiss Mr. Fennoy's charges and dead-docket Mr. Merry's case on the condition that he issue an apology.

Mr. Fennoy said the incident won't hurt him, not in District 1 anyway.

"It may be an albatross in some parts of the community," he said, "but not in the vast majority of the community."

Laid-back and plain-spoken, Mr. Fennoy had no qualms about describing his relationship with convicted former state Sen. Charles Walker, who he says was unfairly targeted for prosecution.

In the 1970s, Mr. Fennoy spent a few years managing Reklaw's Mini Mart on Milledgeville Road for Mr. Walker, and he described him as a tough boss with a heart of gold. He said he visited Mr. Walker in prison last month.

One thing he shares with Mr. Walker is a love for the neighborhood. In 2001, Mr. Fennoy was among the first homebuyers to take the plunge on new houses built by the Augusta Neighborhood Improvement Corp., or ANIC. He had lost his wife of 29 years to lupus earlier that year and wanted a change of scenery, he said.

Downtown is slowly turning around, he said, but the people living there need help.

"I see a lot of people walking the streets in my district, and I see a lot of hopelessness on their faces," Mr. Fennoy said. "If we can't create the jobs for the people that are living in the district, then how can we expect the people that are living in the district to take care of their families and take care of their properties?"


AGE: 61

FAMILY: Widower; sons Trent Hollins, 40, of Charlotte, N.C., Daryl Fennoy, 31, of Augusta; two granddaughters

EDUCATION: Diploma from Carver High School in Spartanburg, S.C., class of 1972; B.A. in history from Paine College

CAREER: Part-time intake officer for the Department of Juvenile Justice; retired health educator for the Richmond County Health Department; worked at Community Mental Health Center in the in-home crisis and day treatment programs; former juvenile corrections officer at the Augusta Youth Development Campus

LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE: Former member, Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority, as vice chairman, treasurer and secretary

CAMPAIGN PLATFORM: Bringing economic development to Augusta; addressing abandoned houses and overgrown yards; addressing crime; addressing needed road repairs and torn-up roads; attracting more businesses

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bettyboop 10/04/09 - 04:27 am
If the voters of Augusta

If the voters of Augusta actually put this clown on the commission....they deserve everything they get !!!

dickworth1 10/04/09 - 04:58 am
Maybe Mr. Fennoy will give

Maybe Mr. Fennoy will give away taxpayers money like the one
he is trying to replace. Afterall, he is being endorsed by Betty
Beard, which thinks it is fine to give money away to private citizens.

jgdarling 10/04/09 - 05:56 am
TEE center would provide many

TEE center would provide many jobs for District One voters.

andywarhol 10/04/09 - 06:55 am
How do you know they'll

How do you know they'll qualify for those jobs?

corgimom 10/04/09 - 12:08 pm
And he's thisclose to our

And he's thisclose to our good friend Justus. I wonder, if he's such good buddies with Charles Walker, why didn't he get Charles to clean up his neighborhood?

thewiz0oz 10/04/09 - 01:37 pm
I wonder if he really

I wonder if he really recognizes economic development -- Unfortunately, district one hasn't been well represented in many years -- Betty Beard is a nice lady that has no clue as to economic development and job creation -- and her district includes the downtown business district that contributes significantly in property taxes and job creation -- yet she was the one who never has understood the over $1 million loss every year in the delay of the convention center expansion and the additional $800,000 coming in new taxes the first year the new Hyatt hotel is build --and her abstention in voting has delayed the process -- hopefully whoever is elected will vote GREEN, not black or white -- I suspect Bill Fennoy is not color blind.

gransom 10/04/09 - 07:46 pm
lifetime government employee

lifetime government employee who moves into government-subsidized housing...endorsed (?) by Beard and a fan of Walker, both of whom seem to think that public service is a means for self-enrichment; this guy, and his ilk, are NOT the solution...they are the problem.
"As a commissioner, I could find out who's responsible"...same tired game played by Holland and Williams, on behalf of their so-called "community".

omnomnom 10/05/09 - 01:44 am
We dont need another person

We dont need another person who's going to cherry pick which parts of District 1 they'll look after. Butch has a comprehensive plan to boost the ENTIRE DISTRICT. If Fennoy's endorsement by Betty Beard isn't enough to dissuade you from voting for him... I should think his 'bout of fisticuffs, or his relationship with Mr. CHOLLIE Walker would be.

lifelongresidient 10/09/09 - 07:06 am
mr. fennoy, in order to

mr. fennoy, in order to educate there must be a willingness by those who need an education to go out and get it!!! the solution is not taking money and developing new or expanding existing programs!!!! the solution to the inner city is first, EFFECTIVE COMMUNITY POLICING, getting the police out of the crusiers and putting "boots on the ground" within the community to dispel the myths regarding the police, building effective neighborhood/police relations, 2nd holding owners of delapidated housing accountable and going in seizing and tearing down homes that are not up to code. my question mr. fennoy is unless you clean up down town what is how would you create the jobs??? what business owner large or small would be foolish enuff to relocate into/near areas that look like war zones, ripe with crime, prostitution and drugs??????

papadan 10/09/09 - 07:23 pm
fennoy who? what? give the

fennoy who? what? give the people of d1 a break

dyomite 10/10/09 - 10:29 am
when someone, ms beard, mr

when someone, ms beard, mr walker is backing some one for commissier would you not think they will do the same thing that their backers want them to do.
we need some one who cares for dist. 1 and who is not in anyone pocket. we need Butch Palmer for Dist. 1 he is not in anyones pocket and will do what is good for the people of Augusta.

redrum3005 10/11/09 - 09:52 am
People it is a shame that we

People it is a shame that we as so called Adults are acting like children. Not everyone that receives public assistance is a no good person. Not every women that has a child out of wed lock is a welfare queen. What about the hard working woman or man who gets laid off and public assistance is their only recourse to holding their families together or Secton 8 gives them that leg back up to getting their life back in order. People stop name calling and help find the solutions to the problems. We need safe clean places for our children to go and learn and grow. Where our children are around positive role models and have the love and support of their community and not feel like they are outcast. We as adults need to lead. My hats off to all the candidates for atleast stepping up to the plate for change.

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