AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - It’s a conversation many Richmond County leaders and residents have had for some time now: the brand new James Brown Arena.
Mayor Hardie Davis sent a letter to the Coliseum Authority urging them to move beyond their impasse, saying the citizens of Augusta spoke a year ago. They want a new James Brown area in its current location.
Coliseum Authority member Bonita Jenkins says she agrees with the mayor. “I am okay with the vote of it being downtown. I’m okay with that. I just have a problem with tearing it down and waiting 2 to 3 to 4 years for it to be rebuilt.”
She wants to know where graduations, concerts and the Harlem Globetrotters will go. How much money will be lost and what will happen to employees?
In his letter, Mayor Davis urges Coliseum Authority members to move beyond the current impasse. “There’s been rumors and people have said that we’re at an impasse. We’re not at an impasse at putting it downtown. What people don’t understand is, we were presented with another proposal for an arena downtown but not in the place where it is. So, I was actually personally waiting for that proposal to come through.”
District 6 Commissioner Ben Hasan says, “I think that’s being disingenuous because number 1, one has nothing to do with the other. If you’re waiting on another plan, that’s one thing. But to have a plan to the tune of $140,000-some odd that’s been paid for and not allow that to be complete. I think that’s a disservice.”
Jenkins says the Colisum Authority has the results of the $140,000 dollar study. Now her fellow commissioners need some time to dig deeper into it. “It certainly creates frustration for persons that we appointed. So the Commission made the decision that we were not going to put it anywhere else. They should have honored that, as well.”
Commissioner Hasan says the motion to oust 4 Coliseum Authority members is still there. Commissioners are just waiting for the city attorney to look at legislation to see if they have the authority to do it.
Just hours ago we learned there’s a special-called Coliseum Authority board meeting next Tuesday, July 9. They plan to discuss the mayor’s letter in that meeting.