Slum Area Designation For Downtown Augusta Up For Commission Vot - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Slum Area Designation For Downtown Augusta Up For Commission Vote

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Broad Street bookstore owner David Hutchison has these words for Augusta leaders.

"Words have power, and we should choose our word very carefully. Downtown isn't a slum," said Hutchison.

But, in Augusta's Urban Redevelopment Plan, about 600 acres of the Central Business Districts would be designated a slum area, unless city officials remove the term from the plan documents.

"If at all possible if they could come up with another word a lot of legislation uses blighted areas I think slum designation if at all possible we could look at something else it would be better for downtown," says Margaret Woodard, of the Downtown Development Authority.

When Columbia County created an Urban Redevelopment Plan for the West Town Shopping Center area, it did not designated it a slum and Commissioners say they will ask city attorney's to remove the term slum area from city documents. 

"I think to designate this area as a slum area, to get financing for the renovation does the city a grave in justice," says Commissioner Bill Fennoy.

The slum area designation would allow the city to issue tax free bonds to for renovation of the Augusta Municipal Building, another very sore point for that downtown, 

"Whether you say slum, blight, distressed area...if that is what is true, don't take all the money and put it in your own golden palace," says Hutchison.

Commissioner Bill Fennoy says this issue needs to go back to committee before Commissioners make any final decisions.

"There's lot of unanswered questions that need to be answered. I'm really concerned about why the details of this bonding issue wasn't brought to the Commission up front. Why was it just coming out?" said Fennoy.

It's about fixing up the "Marble Palace", but for the expense running down downtown.

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