500K spent on depot parking area that may have to go

AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF) – Elmyria Chivers had a meeting at St. Paul’s Church. She didn’t expect to see what’s popped up across Sixth Street on the depot property.

“It did surprise me a little bit. I’m just not sure what the thinking is,” said Chivers.

The depot lot is now paved for parking. Complete with new lighting and security fencing around the entire six acre site.

It’s $500 thousand in work from the city, under an agreement with the Augusta Economic Development Authority for nearby Unisys.

“The Augusta Economic Development Authority has an agreement to provide 500 parking spaces on that property,” sad Cal Wray, who just took over as Executive Director three week ago.

But the parking area is on the same site that commissioners last fall gave the go-ahead for a $90 million mixed use development.

“I don’t know what we’re doing in this city. It’s this old thing about shooting cows, we ain’t talking to each other, everybody doesn’t know what’s going on,” said Commissioner Marion Williams.

“This is the Development Authority, they would have the answers on why it was chosen, why the development took place to the extent that it has been taken place there,” said Commissioner Sean Frantom.

Are you dismayed by that?

“Little shocked by it,” said Frantom.

So what happens to all the parking fixtures when construction starts on the mixed use development?

“It will have to come up. No way you can do this inside,” said Commissioner Williams.

What happens to all the improvements on that property?

“I guess they’ll be torn up,” said Frantom.

But that’s news to the new director of the Economic Development Authority.

“That is not my understanding. I haven’t been brought up to speed on that project you mentioned”, said Wray.

Clearly there isn’t the room for both a 500 space parking lot and a $93 million mixed use development on the depot property’s six and point two acres.

Margaret Woodard of the Downtown Development Authority says she is aware of the Unisys parking deal with the city and says the DDA is interested in working with all parties to find a favorable solution.

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