City leaders see need for initiative for retail recruiting

Augusta, Georgia Seal graphic
Augusta, Georgia Seal graphic

AUGUSTA,Ga (WJBF) In south Augusta it what many have come to expect a business closing, and no new development taking its place.

“When you talk about restaurant offerings that are available in that corridor where the majority of our city lives it’s been abysmal we have to confront that we have to be honest about it I live in south Richmond County it’s high time we take a different approach,” said Mayor Hardie Davis.

That’s what’s behind this subcommittee formed this earlier year to study whether a new economic development authority was needed to bring in retail and commercial businesses.

When the subcommittee was put together it was to focus on south Augusta but the subcommittee is expanding its view.

‘We know there’s a big need in south Augusta but the work that we’ve done will not be focused only on south Augusta just want to make that clear,” said Commissioner Sammie Sias who is Chairman of the subcommittee.

The subcommittee voted unanimously that’s there’s a need for a retail and commercial initiative in Augusta but the subcommittee isn’t  ready yet to recommend whether creating a new authority  is the best way to get it done.

“I like the authority because it has certain legal ramifications it can do certain things legally but certainly we need to start the process it’s the key,” said State Senator Harold Jones who is Vice Chairman of the subcommittee.

But creating a new authority could be a tough sell when others are already in place.

“I’m never going to support another authority because when you create an authority you’ve got to know what you are doing we’ve got the Downtown Development Authority we’ve got the Development Authority,” said Commissioner Marion Williams.

Now that we’re here let’s not just have a knee jerk reaction let’s create another arm of government let’s talk about what we need holistically from an economic development stand point,” said Mayor Davis.

Commissioner Sammie Sias who chairs the subcommittee says the groups next meeting will focus on what type of entity to recommend to commissioners whether it will be a full authority or some type of partnership, with existing agencies,

Commissioner last week approved the 2017 budget and no funding was approved for a new economic development authority, Sias says depending on the approach he doesn’t see anything taking root until 2018


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