Long range tourism plan opens up downtown riverfront

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – This is how the Augusta common looks today, but in the future it could have a whole new look.

“We got to think outside the box I’ve been saying that for years we got to do what other cities are doing and the stuff I saw today would really change Augusta,” said Commissioner Marion Williams.

He’s one of those proposed changes expanding the Augusta Common across Reynolds Street where it would rise up and join the Riverwalk.

There would be a splash pads for kids it would end up at a restaurant bar out in the river where people could rent canoes or kayaks

“How many times have you heard we’re not maximizing we’re not taking advantage of our greatest asset the River it’s time for us to do that,” said Barry White CEO of the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The ambitious plan is calling for public art, a sculpture garden, trails that could lead visitors or residents to a zip line park over the canal or river.

And in James Brown’s honor in international music festival but it would need to be well planned and allowed to grow.

“So if you plan for the year the first year don’t  expect it to rock the world so to speak but by year five were hopeful you could actually create an event that is not only a community asset but draws visitors international,” said Consultant John Kaatz, of Convention Sports and Leisure.

And to move those visitors around the plan calls for a fleet of golf carts to shuttle people to various attractions.

The ones we’re talking to right now would be tip only you get on your ride for free you just tip your driver,

But for Augusta these plans wouldn’t be free and that’s always an issue.

“I think that’s going to be tough I think we’re going to have to take a small bit and do it right again we have the maintenance aspect how are we going to maintain it once we build it,” said Commissioner Sean Frantom.

Consultants say if the city could do only one project the top priority  would be expand the common to the river.

Back in 2015 voters approved four million dollars in sales tax funding for hiking and biking trails and Riverwalk enhancements and expansion so some of those dollars could go into that.

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