AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Last week, people who live in Augusta-Richmond County began voting to decide if the city will get a new arena.
The new arena could have a huge economic impact on the area. And leaders with the Augusta Coliseum Authority say it could also mean the addition of sought-after events.
The C-SPLOST vote will determine if the Augusta Entertainment Complex will get a major makeover. The biggest part of this would be a rebuild of the James Brown Arena, which was built in 1979.
“Entertainment is very important for quality of life,” said Ryan Mahoney, Consultant with the Augusta Coliseum Authority. “And, so, you’re talking about two points here. One- with the additional seating, better rigging, better technology, chart-topping artists will come throughout our community.”
It could also mean bringing hockey to the area.
Mahoney says the revitalization will also create spaces for local artists to showcase their talents. “If a local artist wants to have a VIP event or wants to have a couple of friends for an album release party, that’s an option,” said Mahoney.
The proposed temporary half-penny sales tax is estimated to help create 600 new and permanent jobs in Augusta. Forty percent of the funding is expected to be paid by visitors.
“That’s more money for local retailers to hire more employees,” said Mahoney. “And, so, your kids or your grandkids could have a job opportunity because of this.”
With early voting underway, Coliseum Authority members hope people will head to the polls and vote “yes.”
“We want to give them the correct information to understand that, once this project hits the amount of money that has been allocated for it, the SPLOST ends,” said Cedric Johnson, Chairman of the Augusta Coliseum Authority.
“It’s not just about one thing- it’s about a lot of things,” said Mahoney. “And that’s why the educational component is super important because, at the end of the day, this is a landmark project and we want people to vote.”