Mixed reactions as drag strip plans move forward

By: Jonathan Martin
By: Jonathan Martin

November 14, 2006

It may be a while before we see drag racing in south Augusta...but the Commission's green light on the project has people in south Augusta talking.

Some are anxious about the new development, while others are looking to move.

The proposed drag strip has been one of the most controversial projects lately.

It's been put on hold and voted down...but now the city is moving forward. So now folks are waiting to see if it will really be a catalyst for big growth.

By now folks in south Augusta have heard a new and possibly noisy neighbor is set to move in.

"We just really don't want it at all," said Lynn Broom.

"It's fun," said Gina Miller. "It's another way of money coming into the community as well."

Some city leaders say this drag strip is going to be economic engine Augusta needs. It's expected to bring $30 million dollars to the local economy.

Others say the racetrack's approval is a result of a one man's persistent push for his pet project.

"Marion Williams is a stock car driver and this is his hobby, and he's wanting taxpayers to invest in it," Jerry Brigham told News 12.

Right now the city administrator is working to acquire the land from the Development Authority and come up with $6 million in revenue bonds.

Commissioner Brigham calls it a huge gamble with your money.

"We're going to invest public dollars in a project that will not be economically feasible in the long run," he said.

The plan for development in an area that doesn't have much of it has some excited...and others looking to move.

"Yeah, I think it will be a good idea," said resident Johnny Bailey.

"We've lived out here for a long time, and to think that you have to make that choice because other people made a choice for you," said resident Joyce Botham.

With the city in a budget problem, many will be waiting at the finish line to see if this project drives Augusta out of a hole or deeper into one.

Commissioner Brigham says he's confident this project will be scrapped when all is said and done. But the city is moving forward. They're negotiating a land swap or purchase with the Development Authority, consulting with a bond advisor to pay for the development, and looking for a partner to provide private funding.

We want your input on this story. Tell us what you think on our News Blog.

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