News12 at 6 o'clock/ Oct. 10, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The Riverwalk in Downtown Augusta could look a lot different this time next year. City leaders just approved spending $1 million in upgrades.
On the flip side downtown property owners are still not supporting Sheriff Richard Roundtree's plan to tax downtown business more for extra protection. The Riverwalk is about to get a lot nicer. Augusta's Parks and Recreation Department asked for $118,000 for upgrades.
The Downtown Development Authority went beyond that approving a $1 million. "It makes sense to me they would contribute some dollars to do that. They have Splost dollars. It's also bringing people in to visit," said City Administrator Fred Russell.
There was public outcry to cleanup the area, after Ashley Solesbee and Wesley Spires were attacked on the Riverwalk in May. News12 then shed some light on the lack of working street lamps and visibility along the river.
Some wonder why it took violence before leaders cleaned up the area. "As you reduce the services you provide you have to find those dollars somewhere," said City Administrator Fred Russell.
The money from SPLOST six is still coming in, so the full $1,000,000 won't be available until early next year. Despite the sheriff's push for a downtown tax to pay for increased security, we found out only about 15 percent of downtown business owners supported the idea.
Even if security stays the same, sources tell news 12 another new hotel could be coming to downtown. "Right now I'm not at liberty to say much about it, because it's still a proposal," said Commissioner Marion Williams.
One things for sure downtown Augusta is changing.