GRU expansion would boost business, but can downtown handle the - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

GRU expansion would boost business, but can downtown handle the growth?

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) -

If Georgia Regents University purchases the Sibley and King mills from Augusta, the mills could soon house classrooms and 6,000 to 8,000 GRU students.

Fred Russell, the city administrator, says the Georgia Board of Regents has a consultant reviewing the proposal.

After their review, the Regents will decide if GRU can buy the mills from the city. If the proposal is approved, school leaders say it will bring thousands of students downtown.

While that would be good for business, Bill Fennoy, the Commissioner for District One, is worried downtown Augusta isn't ready for the growth.

"I think there are going to have to be some changes made," Fennoy, said.

He says there are several problems that need to be fixed if thousands of students are expected to live and study close to downtown.

"We still have some street and drainage issues that we need to deal with. We still have dilapidated houses that we need to deal with," he said.

Philip Marks, the owner of Rooster's Beak, thinks the proposed expansion could solve another problem downtown, the sometimes slow business.  

"There are only a small percentage of people that go downtown to begin with. So right now everyone is just sharing a piece of that pie. So everybody could use more business," said Marks.

Debbie Caron owns Eros Bistro and she says if GRU students move into the mills, she will get creative to get their business.

"If they wanted private times in the afternoon, we're slow between two and four o'clock. If they needed study time with no music on or no action around them we could even set up a study hall," Caron, said.

If GRU buys the mills from the city, Fennoy says despite the changes that would needed to accommodate so many people, it will be good for businesses and downtown. He believes the school expansion will motivate city leaders to take care of problems that he says have plagued the area for decades.

Fennoy said, "It's a win win for everybody."

Fred Russell, the city administrator, says it will cost Augusta about $500,000 to market the buildings to GRU. He says they don't know where the city will get that money yet.

The Georgia Board of Regents hasn't announced when they will make a decision about the mills.

  • NEWSMore>>

  • The Latest: Trump says Korea talks "going along very well'

    The Latest: Trump says Korea talks "going along very well'

    Saturday, May 26 2018 7:23 AM EDT2018-05-26 11:23:24 GMT
    Saturday, May 26 2018 11:15 PM EDT2018-05-27 03:15:37 GMT
    (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon). Protesters hold candle lights during a rally to denounce the United States' policies against North Korea near the U.S. embassy in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, May 25, 2018. North Korea said Friday that it's still willing to si...(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon). Protesters hold candle lights during a rally to denounce the United States' policies against North Korea near the U.S. embassy in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, May 25, 2018. North Korea said Friday that it's still willing to si...

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in have met for the second time in a month to discuss peace commitments they reached in their first summit and Kim's potential meeting with...

    More >>

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in have met for the second time in a month to discuss peace commitments they reached in their first summit and Kim's potential meeting with President Donald Trump.

    More >>
  • 'Quiet revolution' leads to abortion rights win in Ireland

    'Quiet revolution' leads to abortion rights win in Ireland

    Saturday, May 26 2018 2:43 AM EDT2018-05-26 06:43:19 GMT
    Saturday, May 26 2018 11:14 PM EDT2018-05-27 03:14:45 GMT
    (Niall Carson/PA via AP). A man walks past a mural showing Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old Indian dentist who had sought and been denied an abortion before she died after a miscarriage in a Galway hospital, with the word YES over it, in Dublin, Irel...(Niall Carson/PA via AP). A man walks past a mural showing Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old Indian dentist who had sought and been denied an abortion before she died after a miscarriage in a Galway hospital, with the word YES over it, in Dublin, Irel...
    Official counting is set to begin in Ireland's historic abortion rights referendum, with two exit polls predicting an overwhelming victory for those seeking to end the country's strict ban.More >>
    Official counting is set to begin in Ireland's historic abortion rights referendum, with two exit polls predicting an overwhelming victory for those seeking to end the country's strict ban.More >>
  • Amid anti-immigrant sentiment, some Spanish speakers wary

    Amid anti-immigrant sentiment, some Spanish speakers wary

    Saturday, May 26 2018 2:14 PM EDT2018-05-26 18:14:01 GMT
    Saturday, May 26 2018 11:14 PM EDT2018-05-27 03:14:37 GMT
    (AP Photo/Chris Carlson). Lilly Mucarsel, a native of Ecuador, poses for a picture in her office Friday, May 25, 2018, in Tustin, Calif. Mucarsel, 62, of Southern California finds herself reverting to English when she attends a baseball game or goes to...(AP Photo/Chris Carlson). Lilly Mucarsel, a native of Ecuador, poses for a picture in her office Friday, May 25, 2018, in Tustin, Calif. Mucarsel, 62, of Southern California finds herself reverting to English when she attends a baseball game or goes to...

    The Trump administration's harsh rhetoric and tougher policies toward immigrants have made some Spanish speakers self-conscious about speaking other languages in public.

    More >>

    The Trump administration's harsh rhetoric and tougher policies toward immigrants have made some Spanish speakers self-conscious about speaking other languages in public.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly