Downtown area could get called 'a slum' in exchange for funding from state

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News 12 First at Five / Friday, September 6, 2013

Commission seal

Augusta, Ga (WRDW) - "It's an insult to a lot of the hard work that goes right now," said Matt Aitken who lives in downtown Augusta.

Hard work beaten down to the ground by the word slum.

And it's not sitting well with the former Augusta Commissioner.

"There's a lot of good people in this district, we have some issues but we also have a huge amount of opportunities," said Aitken.

Opportunities current Augusta Commissioners are looking for.

Things like getting funding to renovate downtown's municipal building.

"It's procedural, this is what you have to do to access the funding," said Deke Copenhaver, Mayor of Augusta.

To qualify, commissioners would need to create what's called an urban redevelopment area also defined as a slum.

"Why would the state legislature put cities across Georgia, in a position that you have to designate certain areas with that term to access funding?" asked Mayor Copenhaver.

The project would allow the city to collect more than 40 million dollars in state revenue. Funding for one building that leaves an entire area with a bad rep.

The boundaries are from Gordon Highway to 15th street, and Walton Way to Reynolds Street. An area that's seen it's share of tough times but also its share of good.

"I think the potential's there, I'd like to see more energy from our commission to look at the downtown and how it's going to affect us," Aitken told News 12.