Augusta Commission looking at 'other options' for boathouse
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WFXG) - Build it back up or tear it down? That question remains for the City of Augusta's boathouse.
Tuesday, Mar. 21, the Augusta-Richmond County Commission paused the plan for mold remediation to look at other options. The commission decided against allocating $580,000 in SPLOST-7 funds that would have gone toward mold remediation, repairs to the deck, and other rehab work.
The city-owned property has been vacant for about three years and the Augusta Rowing Club has been unable to use its facility for nearly three months.
Commissioner Jordan Johnson says they need to make a decision since the building can't benefit anyone if it sits vacant. "Putting the dollars into the right direction to get the Boathouse ready for public use is priority number one on this boathouse issue, simply because it's not doing us any justice sitting on the river. It's the perfect location for so much to happen and we have to make sure we are leading the way on getting the building ready again."
On the other hand, Commissioner CATHERINE SMITH MCKNIGHT believes making repairs would be a waste of tax payer funds in the long-run. “WE NEED TO BE PROACTIVE AS CITY LEADERS AND DO SOMETHING AND WE HAVE TO BE CAUTIOUS OF HOW WE SPEND IT. STICKING $6 MILLION PLUS INTO FIXING THAT UP, I’M NOT SUPPORTING IT.”
The COMMISSION agrees the FUTURE BOATHOUSE NEEDS TO BE UTILIZED BY ALL AND LOW MAINTENANCE. THEY HOPE TO REACH AN AGREEMENT THAT MEETS THE ROWING CLUBS NEEDS AND THE CITIES TOO. “WE WANT TO DO THING IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE ROWING CLUB," say Alvin Mason. "BUT AT THE SAME TIME, WE DON’T WANT TO LOSE WHAT WE HAVE ON THE RIVER, IT’S A DIAMOND.”
If the Commission decides to replace the facility altogether, the City is looking at a five-year plan and an estimated cost of $5.8 million in taxpayer dollars. The city's Parks and Recreation department is expected to report back in thirty days with an estimated cost of the demolition of the property and where to house the rowing club and its equipment in the meantime.
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