Downtown Augusta could be labeled a slum after tonight

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The big vote tonight for Augusta Commissioners surrounds Downtown Augusta. City leaders are considering an Urban Redevelopment Plan that could classify parts of downtown a slum.


It could give leaders access to nearly $40 million dollars to use on Municipal Building renovations. "It's kind of scary," said Augusta Resident Margaret Ann Smith.

Smith doesn't picture those words as she paints portraits and sells them at Odd fellows in Downtown Augusta. "I take all the positive energy out and I try to put them in my pictures. It's the way I see Augusta and want it to stay. It should not be labeled a slum," said Smith.

Augusta Commissioners are set to vote tonight on an Urban Redevelopment Plan that includes labeling nearly 600 acres of Downtown Augusta a slum. It would give leaders access to $40 million that will be used on the Municipal Building.

"I didn't vote to support the renovations from the start. I'm not going to change in the middle of the stream," said Commissioner Bill Fennoy.

Commissioner Fennoy is the only one who voted against major upgrades to the marble palace. He represents the downtown area. People in his district have already told him how to vote.

"I've gotten numerous phone calls and emails. People on the street are telling me to not support this," said Fennoy.

It only takes six to pass and three commissioners voted for it last week. For Smith, the picture it could send to future generations is not a work of art.

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