Commissioner doesn’t want arena deadline this month

AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF) – Broderick Walters is a south Augusta resident and says nearly three months after the selection of Regency Mall as the site for the new James Brown arena, it’s time to get moving.

“It’s time to make a decision, on where they’re going to put it at. The location. Because everybody is excited about the new arena,” said Walters.

But not everyone is excited about the proposed agreement to put it at Regency Mall, where the mall owners have written they want ten years of no property taxes, for the city to help with long term and the city to maintain and upgrade the parking lot.

“We need all the tax revenue we can get, so basically we need to do something that’s in the best interest of the city of Augusta, not necessarily the seller,” said Commissioner Andrew Jefferson whose district includes Regency Mall.

Tuesday, Commissioners are scheduled to debate a calling on the coliseum authority to come up with a new location for the arena, unless there’s an acceptable agreement by the end of this month.

Some commissioners don’t believe that’s possible.

“I don’t think there’s anything they can do, the tax abatement, the way the lease is, I just don’t think it’s there. I think the citizens are tired of hearing about it and we’re ready to move on,” says Commissioner Sean Frantom.

Commissioner Jefferson also wants to move forward as well but says the commission needs to give the Coliseum Authority more time not just the end of the month.

“Probably the first part of January, toward the later end of January, to give the Coliseum Authority ample time to meet and have the people come back here and sit down with us and talk about it I don’t disagree with a deadline but it probably needs to be extended just a tad,” says Commissioner Jefferson.

Commissioner Sammie Sias, who proposed the deadline, isn’t making himself available for comment.

Coliseum Authority member Darren Smith attempted to have Chairman Cedric Johnson call a special meeting this week to discuss the arena issue, but as we’ve reported, the answer was no, and the Coliseum Authority will meet at its regular time November 28th.

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