Price tag for portions of Ellis Street Option

By: Chris Thomas Email
By: Chris Thomas Email

News 12 First at Five, October 5, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---The Ellis Street Option is floating its way back onto the Commission agenda. We now have some early estimates on how much it would cost to get things up and running.

Don Berry grabs lunch at the Sandwich Cafe along Ellis Street at least two times a week. "Can you imagine having lunch and overlooking a beautiful waterway?" he says.

Don says not even flooding that stretch with water will keep him from stopping in. "Well quite frankly I think it might be a beautiful venue for the city."

A laundry list of engineers, companies, and public interest groups gathered Friday looking for ways to turn what some call a pipe dream into a big economic splash.

Tawayne Ray works along Ellis Street. She says, "It might attract more people because that's something different. It's not nothing usual that you come to a restaurant in a boat."

It would take $31 million to dig up the road and re-route sewage lines. City leaders say it's worth it. "Most of it's in excess of 50 years old, so re-doing this, if we're going to see our central business district grow, is a good thing whether we build the Ellis Street Option or not," says Commissioner Andy Cheek, who's spearheading the project.

But not everyone's in favor of just flowing with the tide. Kevin Steele says, "Well I don't know. Someone's gotta pay for that, and that's the taxpayer right? So I don't know if the benefit outweighs the cost."

Max Hicks with the Augusta utilities department says, "That's just really a rough estimate based on very preliminary sketches."

Besides the cost, city engineers say they've got homework to do. They are requesting at least one or two years to conduct studies.

Director of Engineering Abie Ladson says, "It's something that we've never done before, but we're pretty excited about it."

Indeed it is exciting, but Don fears it's not all smooth sailing just yet. He says, "Visions are great as long as visions become dreams unattainable rather than nightmares."


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  • by Lee Location: Richmond Cty on Oct 7, 2007 at 10:15 PM
    A waste of taxpayers' money is what this city project is. This money, which is quite a large sum, could be used to other things such as better/more law enforcement (especially in S. Augusta), better schools/teaching staff/curriculum/books, another animal shelter, etc. Augusta is not booming with people such as the likes of Atlanta and, thus, does not need ANOTHER canal. The city officials do not seem to be able to take care of one project completely without trying to start another pointless one. I am but 21 yrs old and can plainly see that this Ellis St canal is not going to financially help Augusta but damage it even further. Sticking to what will work and is beneficial instead of monetary gain will help the community. Ellis St. canal? A waste! Better law enforcement, students/staff, animal control, community? A must. City officials do not know any better than one person. Head community leaders should discuss and come to an agreement about what's best for Augusta.
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