Commissioners question blight plan

CSRA News

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – There is no doubt there is work to be done in the 15th Street corridor. More than 250 abandoned and structures, and some city leaders say it is time to fight this blight.

“It is a serious issue, there’s a lot of stuff that we could eliminate, that we have not been doing. We’re going to talk about it today,” said Commissioner Marion Williams.

Doing the talking was the Mayor’s Chief of Staff Marcus Campbell, outlining a five phase proposal for the Joint Collaboration Committee to take on blight and then redevelop in the 15th Street corridor.

Campbell is saying costs are estimated to be $8 to 9 million dollars for the demolitions, more would be needed for redevelopment. One suggestion has been for the city to issue up $15 million dollars in bonds for the work.

“I think $5 million is a stretch just for that one area, that’s already being developed there are other areas that really need it also,” said Commissioner John Clarke.

Commissioners say the focus should be on tearing down the abandoned buildings, because Augusta already has a housing department doing redevelopment.

“I would be more interested in using the whole $15 million dollars and getting rid of all the houses and getting some control on all the lots versus putting some of that into economic development,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.

“If we’re going to spend it, I want it spent all over and not just in one area. We already got tremendous growth, we got tremendous development and they’re doing a great job down there,” said Commissioner Clarke.

Commissioners say fighting blight needs to take place but right now city leaders are raising questions about the latest battle plan

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