Leaders meet to discuss upcoming plans for James Brown Arena
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Governor Brian Kemp signed a bill to create a special sales tax to go towards the funding of a new James Brown Arena.
Now it just needs voters’ approval in November. The Coliseum Authority held its first meeting since the big news.
Leaders are excited about the future and what’s to come with the entire entertainment complex. They are confident voters will agree this time.
It’s 40 years old, and it isn’t aging gracefully.
“We don’t have the rigging of the capacity. When you look at the bathrooms and the flow. Of the concourse, we’re just not wide enough to serve today’s needs,” said Cedric Johnson, Coliseum Authority Chairman.
Johnson says extra funds from a previous SPLOST allowed them to get started with the Bell Auditorium portion of the project.
“We’ve been good stewards of the money that has been given to us. We have shown that by not waiting for the James Brown Arena to start but going ahead and using those funds we had in the bank to start on the Bell. Do the things that we’re going to do on the Bell,” he said.
The Bell Auditorium will stop having shows on July 1 for renovations. This portion of the project is expected to take a year.
The next step falls on voters to approve in November. Voters turned down the project back in 2021 when the funding was tied to property taxes.
“We want people to know it is more than just just build an arena. But it’s more of an education of having people understand that if we don’t do this, then Augusta won’t have an arena,” said Johnson.
The Coliseum Authority approved $65,000 to go towards education materials so voters will understand what they are voting for. If voters do approve the James Brown Arena project, construction will start in 2024.
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