Possible slum designation for downtown could be changing

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News12 at 5 o'clock/ Oct. 08, 2013


Augusta,Ga--City leaders might not have to use the actual word slum to get the millions they need to renovate the Municipal building. It's one of many things commissioners learned in a meeting going over the details.

Right now, it's defined as a slum, but now some commissioners want to change the wording to code OCGA 36-61-2 (18). It's another way to call an area a slum.

"We were not previsously given any options. we were just given one alternative," said Commissioner Bill Lockett.

Last month, City Administrator Fred Russell presented an Urban Redevelopment Plan that would designate almost 600 acres of Downtown Augusta as a slum. The possible designation made many downtown home and business owners feel down in the dumps.

"I think other options should have been presented in march. I still don't like the slum designation," said

This building and possible block are what commissioners are considering to desiginate a slum in order to get the funding needed to continue on in this process. "

"It doesn't bother me, because this is where I work. this is where I live. I know there are certain changes that need to be made," said Commissioner Bill Lockett.

Downtown Development Authority Director Margaret Woodard says the "slum" language hasn't affected her conversations with potential new downtown businesses.

"No one has called and cancelled an appointment. No building that is under contract has fallen apart. I think some businesses know they're will be incentives to this," said DDA Director Margaret Woodard.

The Slum designation was needed to qualify for $26 million dollars in bonds to renovate the Municipal, IT and Ancillary buildings. Now leaders are trying to find a way to get that money without upsetting the people who call downtown home.