A train track could derail the development of turning the old Sibley Mill into a part of Georgia Regents University (GRU).
The city is pitching two old mills, Sibley and King, to GRU as possible dorms and classroom space, but the problem is the CSX line runs within feet of Sibley Mill, and consultants say that will side track development.
“I think that really pushes us to looking at King Mill before Sibley, because King Mill could potentially be developed before moving that rail line. In general, when we look at other cities' rail lines…takes at least a couple of years to move, so we really don't know so that's a large challenge we do think CSX and others will work with us when they understand the scope of the project,” says Matt Kwatinetz, the city's consultant on the Augusta Regional Collaboration Project.
Kwatinetz says CSX officials were in town for The Masters and they were “back room conversations about the rail line”.
Meanwhile, as we first reported, consultants are requesting the city come up with nearly $400,000 dollars to play for planning studies to market the mills to GRU, or other tenants. Another $1.2 million will be needed, but that will be raised from private sources.
Kwatinetz says there's no timeline on when the planning funds are needed, but says GRU is looking to move forward so the quicker the better.