AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Supporters of a new James Brown arena have a reason to feel good because it’s on the way.
“People want entertainment in Augusta and especially in downtown Augusta,” said Coliseum Authority Chair Cedric Johnson.
66% percent of voters said yes to a half percent sales tax to pay for a new arena, and that brings with it the chance for a hockey team back to town.
“We’re still having conversations with the hockey folks, and they are ready. They’re ready to come to Augusta,” said Commissioner Jordan Johnson.
But to get a new arena ready for hockey, the arena’s management company has agreed to put up $10 million for ice making equipment for the new building, but the Coliseum Authority and the company must first come to terms on how that will be paid back.
“We’re going to look out for the best interests of Augusta-Richmond County citizens. If we can come up with an agreement that’s good for everybody, then we’ll be able to see hockey,” said Johnson.
So, hockey is not a guarantee, and neither is the new arena solely being named for James Brown because naming rights are under consideration.
“It is possible. It could be a corporate name with James Brown in some other fashion,” said Johnson.
“So, it could be James Browns slash corporate name?”
“Yes, it could be,” said Johnson.
Construction is scheduled to begin in the summer following the completion of the Bell Auditorium renovations, and the new sales tax will kick in January 1st.