Concept plans released for downtown Augusta upgrades

Concept plans released for downtown Augusta upgrades

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - People in Augusta passed a penny tax geared towards improving transportation and landscaping back in 2012. Now, officials are ready to unveil what those changes could look like.

"It can be a very beautiful place; way more beautiful than it is right now." Augusta has been Antoinette Mirabella's home since 2011. She lives walking distance from downtown and said she's ready to see this area get a major facelift. "I think people want it, but it costs a lot of money."

That money is closer than she realizes. For the past four years, every time you've swiped your card for a purchase in Richmond County, a penny of that has gone towards the Transportation Investment Act. Now, officials are ready to take those coins to the bank and cash out.

"It's about $81 million, through all," said Commissioner Ben Hasan.

Consultants from Cooper Carry will focus on taking the railroad tracks spanning 6th Street from just nuts and bolts to grassed over tracks lined with flowers and curbs along with creating a gateway at the 13th Street corridor.

Hasan said, "I was very excited about what I saw and I think it brings us into the 21st century."

On Broad Street, the plan is to ditch these parking wells in favor of thoroughfares while bringing James Brown center stage in the form of a plaza. Commissioner Hasan noted that while it'll be at least another year before the groundbreaking, residents should be excited for what's to come. "There have been plenty of designs, plenty of studies that have been done but there was no funding mechanism. Here, for the first time, we have a true funding mechanism to get some of this work done."

Residents will have two opportunities this week to come and check out the concept plans and offer opinions. On Tuesday, you can swing by the Julian Smith Barbeque Pit to view the plans. And on Wednesday, officials will be at the Municipal Building to answer your questions. Both sessions start at 6:00 p.m.

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