New Commissioners talk about Ellis Street option, drag strip and baseball stadium

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, December 5, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga. - When you think about the Commission, the word 'agreement' may not come to mind. News 12 talked to the three newest members and we found agreement. And on some of the most controversial issues.

Issue 1 - the Ellis Street option. The idea of putting a canal downtown and making it more attractive for tourists.

"The Ellis Street option, I believe it's a nice thought to have as far as bringing tax generated revenue to the city, but at the same time the cost is astronomical," said newly elected District 4 Commissioner Alvin Mason.

"I think right now the Ellis Street option needs to be put on hold," said Joe Jackson, New District 6 Commissioner. "I don't think now is the time to execute it."

Corey Johnson, District 2's new Commissioner added, "I don't think that it's something we need to focus on right now in the City of Augusta."

The new commissioners agreed funding the judicial center and cleaning up the city are two higher-ranking priorities.

Here's what they thought about issue 2 - the drag strip. It's the idea of bringing more racing fans (and their wallets) to the city.

"I thought it was a great idea from jump street," said Johnson.

But the location remains a concern.

"I don't think we need a drag strip right now," Jackson said. "If anything, it would need to be near the interstate where you can get [people] in and get them out quick."

"I think the numbers are there to show that it can generate revenue for our city; however, the location is not something I'd be in agreement with," said Mason.

Issue 3 - bringing a new baseball stadium to Downtown Augusta.

"That's a good idea. I do think that we need to focus on it being more of a multiplex complex," said Johnson.

"Until I actually see the numbers on that, I'm not sure that that would be right for Augusta," said Mason.

"I'm not going to pull the trigger and say,'Yes, we need a downtown stadium.' Get the studies in. Find out where we're going to go and let the voters decide," said Jackson.

The new commissioners will be sworn in during January 2008.

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