Commissioners agree to call parts of downtown a slum



Monday, Sept. 9, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Augusta Finance Committee members just approved a plan to call parts of Downtown Augusta a slum. Their decision is not sitting well with some.

The plan comes from the state legislature. The plan gives a special funding stream available for cities with lots of dilapidated buildings. Nate Copley's t-shirt are two reasons why he is fighting the title of slum.

"You're going to destroy an area," said Downtown Resident Nate Copley.

"They're going to cut the nose off to fight the face. They're going to ruin downtown and it hurts," said Downtown Business Owner Mike Walraven.

The number of run down and dilapidated properties could help the city. The state legislature will give city leaders access to $40 million to create an urban redistricting area. The title for some is just splitting hairs.

"The definition of the federal government doesn't mean it's a total negative thing. It allows us to do some financing and gives us the opportunity to do what we need to do," said Commissioner Alvin Mason.

Commissioner mason says parts of Columbia County, Decatur, GA and other areas have adopted the title. If the plan passes the money will be used to renovate the municipal building.

"It did not come up that we would declare over 500 acres of Augusta a slum. If it would have come up I wouldn't have supported it," said Commissioner Lockett.

For some downtown, they've been fighting negative perceptions for years of downtown being violent and unsafe. Adding the word slum could make some leave the area all together.

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