Augusta, Ga. (WJBF) – Plans for a new Henry Brigham Center are $1.6 million over budget, but plans to use federal rescue act funds to make up the difference are dividing the commission because other parks have needs. 

“One of the concerns in voting no yesterday was to see where the status was for the other facilities,” says Commissioner Dennis Williams.  

There needs to be a deeper discussion on what happens with the bids. Also, why can’t we bond everything out of what we already allocated $6 million for it, and we start the project? Why can’t we bond and do all the projects because there is more than the Henry Brigham Center that needs to be done,” says Commissioner Sean Frantom.  

One is the Julian Smith Barbecue Pit where bids came in more than $1 million over budget, and the department does not think reworking the project as an option.  

“I think you can’t really scale back. Most of the project addresses some ADA compliance issues, and as you know about ADA, once you tackle some of it, you have to tackle all of it,” says Recreation and Parks Director Maurice McDowell.  

With lots of park issues to deal with, some are suggesting borrowing money through bonds to get to more park projects sooner. 

“Get a bond, fix everything, [and] bring everything up to par,” says Commissioner Dennis Williams.  

The park issues have commissioners divided, and as we saw Tuesday, tempers getting short.  

“I don’t see why you are sitting here.” 

“I’m asking a question. I don’t care. I don’t see why you are sitting here doing this,” says Mayor Pro-Tem Bobby Williams and Commissioner Sean Frantom on the Dais during Tuesday’s meeting.  

“Don’t like the way things we handled yesterday. We all have the right to ask questions. To be attacked on the floor like that, it’s pretty unprofessional,” says Frantom. 

Parks are proving to be a difficult solution for commissioners in Augusta.