Augusta Convention Center plans needs approval

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News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Augusta commissioners are working on the budget for the city's new convention center. Some leaders say they needed more time to go through the 40-page document.

The first annual financial plan for the Augusta Convention Center is still not approved. Keep in mind its first event of the years is at the end of February.

"This is not being done to stifle any up-and-coming events. We need time to look at the numbers and make sure they make sense. We want to make sure we're not rubber stamping anything," said Mayor Pro Tem Corey Johnson.

"We are operating under the assumption that it's going to go through. It's basically details and conversations we've had for several months," said City Administrator Fred Russell.

"We got that annual plan on Friday and it's 40 pages long," said City Commissioner Donnie Smith.

The 40-page plan is full of details like rental fees and how many events are booked here. It also shows a predicted loss of about $800,000 in its first year.

"I heard that the deficit is considerable -- about $700,000. Some reports say $800,000. I predict maybe $500,000," Johnson said.

City leaders recently voted to add a crosswalk on the west side of the building. Parking deck Manager Paul Simon wants the city to build a $800,000 skywalk instead.

"Of course, we have asked to add another crosswalk on the west side of the parking deck so people can cross when they come down on that side," Johnson said.

"The annual plan has to be approved by the commission. I don't think there's anything in there we haven't talked about," Russell said.

The Augusta Convention Center's first event is scheduled for next week.

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