AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF)- Monday evening, city leaders will host a rally supporting the CSPLOST referendum. The referendum would allow for a half cent sales tax to fund a new James Brown Arena.
The referendum is designed so that Richmond County tax payers aren’t the only ones funding the facility. Anyone spending money in Richmond County will be subject to that additional half cent.
The thought is that people from all over the area attend events at the arena and they should help pay for it.
Monday night, Commissioners Jordan Johnson and Sean Frantom are hosting the “Funky Good Time Voter Rally” to drum up more support and get people out to vote.
There will be music, food trucks and local leaders will be on hand to talk about why you should vote yes on the referendum and answer questions.
In a rare show of unity, Augusta Commissioners are ALL in support of the CSPLOST referendum.
“There’s not a single commissioner elected to the county commission that does not love Augusta. We love Augusta so much so, we’re willing to dedicate our lives in service to Augusta. We would be foolish to not support Augusta’s future. And the fact that we are standing in solidarity should tell you something. It should tell you that we really mean business when it comes to growing Augusta,” explained District 1 Commissioner Jordan Johnson.
On Friday, leaders from the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, Augusta Economic Development Authority, Augusta Sports Council, Augusta Tomorrow, Downtown Development Authority, and Destination Augusta gathered for a press conference in a show of united support for the CSPLOST and to drive home the need for a new, updated arena.
“The governing bodies of all these organizations here have taken a position of support for the new half penny sales tax referendum, so that we can build a state of the art entertainment facility that our community, we feel, deserves. The new James Brown Arena. I think you all will agree that the current arena has served it’s purpose and however, has reach its functional obsolescence and this is our opportunity to replace it with a state of the art facility we can all be proud of and continue the growth of our region, ” Dennis Trotter, Chairman of the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce.
People who oppose a new arena say that it sits empty most of the year and they don’t understand why the current arena can’t be renovated.
Longtime downtown business owner, Coco Rubio, supports a new James Brown Arena. He says there is a good reason the arena doesn’t attract very many concerts and events.
“I can tell you that the current James Brown Arena is just out dated for modern productions and big shows and tours. So, we’re not going to get those big shows with the current facility. That’s the facts, you know. So, if we want to take it up a notch, and get to where, you know, other cities are, we have to have a new facility,” Rubio explained.
The “Funky Good Time Voter Rally” will be held Monday night from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the James Brown Arena.
Polls are open tomorrow from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Photojournalist: Will Baker.