AUGUSTA,Ga (WJBF) To transform the old Golf and Gardens to a world class cyber facility, the state is investing 50 million dollars, and the state says Augusta needs to set aside a few million dollars of its own for parking.,
“Right now there’s looking at a parking deck of approximately 400 to 500 spaces I understand that number could change as well,” said City Administrator Janice Allen Jackson.
The parking deck, shouldn’t be a surprise, the request for proposals from the Georgia Technology Authority calls for a 500 space parking deck and the proposals says Augusta will pay for it.
But Back in the middle of February Governor Deal came to town but there was no mention that Augusta would pay 10 to 12 million dollars for a parking deck.
“He wanted Augusta to have some skin in the game and that is what they’ve asked for,” said Commissioner Sean Frantom.
“When did you find out the city was going to ask for this?
” I think we’ve known since the beginning of February I think,” said Frantom.
Though Augusta will be responsible for the deck there’s still a lot of questions.
“We don’t know how we’re going to fund it yet we don’t know who’s going to own the deck,” said Frantom.
So how does the city plan to pay for it?
“We’ve got some other options looking at some other funding sources bond financing so there’s some few other options we’re considering,” said Jackson.
But does the city really need to spend millions on another parking deck.
The 11 million dollars Reynold Street deck the city built is just two blocks away.
But Jackson says the Reynolds Street deck will see more use as new hotels move downtown.
It may look like a bit of an overbuild right now if things materialize the way we expect the next three to five years I think we’ll be happy we made the decision to add more parking to downtown Augusta,” said Jackson.
Augusta used ten million dollars from its reserves to demolish gilbert manor to make way for the A-U dental school and paid its self- back with sales tax money but Administrator Jackson dismissed using reserves for the parking deck.
The city is on a tight schedule the state wants the parking deck underway by the end of May,
Jackson said commissioners should make a decision on funding it in the next four to six weeks.