Coliseum Authority in no hurry to vote on new arena site

AUGUSTA,Ga (WJBF) - Twice last year, the Coliseum Authority voted 4 to 2 to make the old Regency Mall site the location for a new James Brown arena. 

But in May, there was another vote and Augusta Primary voters rejected Regency mall in favor of the current location downtown.

"We have a plan that we worked with the consultants and we just need to get back to that," said Coliseum Authority Chairman Cedric Johnson.

"Can you build the new arena at this location?" I asked.

"We can. We've been told by the consultants we can do that," said Johnson. 

But first the Coliseum Authority will need to change it's official action of selecting Regency Mall as the site of a new arena. But that will take another vote of the Coliseum Authority. This meeting was the first one since primary voters weighed in saying they favored downtown.

"I think it's a little too early to make a commit  to any one thing yet, but we'll get to where we need to go and we'll do it in a slow and steady and respectful fashion," said Authority member Darren Smith who supporter the Regency site. 

"How about the vote of the people, will you charge your position now?" I asked.

"Well maybe maybe not, we'll no though," said Authority member Booker T. Roberson.

"Why are you a maybe not?"

"Let's just leave it like that," said Roberson. 

"Are you ready to say let's go downtown?"

"Well I'm okay of we go downtown but there's a lot of question I have right now. We have a lot of problems with parking so I need to know what's going to happen with that. So I have a lot of questions of us as an Authority." said Authority member Bonita Jenkins, who also voted for Regency Mall.

For the last ten months the location of a new arena has divided Augusta. and a lot of public support for a new arena could have been lost. 

"What I'm hoping is that people can be bigger than that and look at what's best for this community and what's best for this community is a new arena," said Chairman Johnson.

"Is the hard work behind you or is the hard work just starting? 

"The hard work is just starting," said Johnson. 

Coliseum Authority members are under no legal obligation to change their position on the location of the new arena.

The primary ballot questions were non-binding. There was no vote taken today, and the results of the primary were not even discussed.

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