Local businessman, senator team up for economy initiative

By: Melissa Tune Email
By: Melissa Tune Email

News 12 at 11 o'clock, September 24, 2009

AUGUSTA---It's one of the best weeks to be in Augusta so why do so many residents leave town? One local businessman wants more people to stay in town during Masters Week and has formed an initiative in hopes that more will take advantage of other activities during the tournament.

The idea is simple: get local businesses to capitalize on the busiest week of the year for Augusta, and give locals and golf fans more activities.

April in Augusta is a a golden time for golf lovers and a golden opportunity for businesses along Washington Road. It is appealing to most visitors but Ed Luckey, Mercedes-Benz of Augusta's General Manager believes it is time for local businesses to focus on "appealing" to the locals.

"As business owners, as business operators in the local market we need to be responsible for our own future, says Luckey.

Senator Ed Tarver agrees.

"I think it will be excellent for the city of Augusta," says Tarver.

Luckey and Tarver are teaming up to to form a "steering committee to explore what they call a "Masters Week Initiative." In its very early stages, the goal is to get local business leaders together to capitalize on the tournament and offer more things to do.

"It will be an initiative that encourages people to stay in the community that week, to come downtown to interact in the activities that will available," adds Tarver.

Millions of dollars are pumped into the Augusta economy during the Masters, from restaurants to hotels to entertainment. But some of the activities are exclusive. That's why the group wants to see other activities like a parade, outdoor concerts and a "golf fan village" which are activities you can do whether you have a ticket to see the golf or not.

"We have hundreds and thousands of Augustans who leave the area, who complain about not having access to the badges for the tournament, who complain that there's not anything to do downtown," says Tarver.

"We need to come as business people, come together collectively and present the ideas that affect all of us and more importantly that impact us economically,"says Luckey. "Augusta may be the best kept secret, but it doesn't need to be a secret anymore."

For more information, business leaders can contact Ed Luckey at (706) 861-1111.

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  • by Liz Location: North Augusta on Sep 25, 2009 at 03:30 PM
    Excellent idea, and long overdue. It's time that the locals stop feeling like victims of the tournament. This is an event that should be celebrated. I would like to participate.
  • by JOMO Location: usa on Sep 25, 2009 at 07:53 AM
    Geez, count on a politician and a businessman to get together to look out for each other. Mr. Tarver, there's a reason local folks don't stay in town during Masters Week if they can help it, because there's nothing in it for US. During Masters week traffic becomes unbearable, local businesses of all kinds hike up their prices to gouge and it gets crowded everywhere. Golf is a sport of the well to do, what do most of the folks in the CSRA have to do with them? Mr. Tarver, it seems that Mr. Luckey and yourself have lost touch with the reality of the financial situation that most working Augustans have been facing over the last few years in your quest to squeeze money out of us for the sake of a few small businessmen, McHotels and restaurant chains, that really doesn't help our situation, so why should we care?
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