Leaders spending your tax dollars on GRU expansion plans


News 12 First at Five / Thursday, May 30, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Augusta commissioners are moving full steam ahead when it comes to the possible GRU expansion to the King and Sibley mills. They recently voted to spend tax dollars for more research on the plan.

University leaders have yet to commit to the properties or put any money into them.

"All I know is that Sibley and King mills were created for textiles," said historian Dottie Demarest.

Demarest says Sibley Mill was built on top of a gun powder factory used by the Confederate Army in the Civil War.

"Most of the stuff was built in the 1880s. People back in the day wanted to turn it into a renaissance city," Demarest said.

People several hundred years later want the same thing. City Leaders want GRU to use this space for dorms and classrooms. Thousands of dollars in research needs to happen first.

"At this point we are not, this is a city effort, and we're being helpful as we can. This is not our effort at this point. The city is doing this, and we respect that," said President Dr. Ricardo Azziz.

"The committee has put forth an additional $300,000," said City Administrator Fred Russell.

Depending on next week's vote, your tax dollars could pay for environmental and structural research for a project that doesn't have for sure tenants.

"At this point, it's just the city. we are putting together a package and marketing a valuable asset," Russell said.

It's something Demarest supports because she says she believes pieces of Augusta's past could fit into the city's future.


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