Eyesore or Hollywood attraction? Augusta leaders eye old jail’s fate

Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 6:39 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 27, 2021 at 6:53 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Is it an eyesore or a Hollywood attraction? The fate of the old jail on Walton Way has been up in the air for years, but now it’s officially time for it to be torn down.

Some city leaders had their eyes on renovating this into a juvenile justice center, but now that things are coming down, it looks like things are going the commercial route.

“Everyone’s talking about, ‘It’s an eyesore, it’s an eyesore.’ I guess it’s all in what you perceive as to be an eyesore or beauty,” said Commissioner John Clarke, Augusta-Richmond County District 10.

Rusted and overgrown some say the old jail was a gem in the eyes of movie makers.

“My thoughts still haven’t changed from the first I voted no not to tear it down, because I thought it would be a good economical boost with the movie industry and what have you here in Augusta,” said Clarke.

But you may have noticed driving by recently in front of the barbed wire gates there’s a new barrier set up. One in preparation for demolition.

“Are we going to build a hotel? Are we going to build an apartment building? Are we going to build a business building? I don’t think we’ve really pushed something forward yet,” he said.

According to a spokesperson for the city, demo is supposed to be done by April 2022. Clarke says right now, crews are already working on gutting the inside.

“When it comes to large issues like this, we generally have a record of voting together. So I’m sure that the commission will come together with something very viable that should happen to this piece of property,” he said.

And he says the county won’t probably hold onto it so the next sign you see outside might say, “For sale.”

A bid went out to Thompson Wrecking Co. for almost $1.5 million. We reached out to them for a more in-depth timeline and are waiting to hear back. One thing to keep in mind, though, commissioners tell us the money for the demo was set aside years ago in SPLOST money.

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