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Coliseum Authority Meeting a Full House

(WRDW)
Published: Sep. 26, 2017 at 8:01 PM EDT
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For the first time since that shocking vote to move the James Brown Arena to South Augusta, the group who made that decision met Tuesday in a packed house.

The Augusta Coliseum Authority made the decision to move the James Brown Arena to the former Regency Mall site last month.

Members of the Coliseum Authority say today was a fact-finding mission and a way to come together after the last vote. The architects who are working with the Coliseum Authority on this reviewed everything leading up to where things are today.

People from across Augusta who work with the James Brown Arena and are involved with entertainment downtown sat in the meeting. Most of what today was, however, was just reviewing every site option and what brought us to this point.

Vice Chairman Brad Usry of the Coliseum Authority says today was productive.

“We’re a very civil group. We can agree to disagree and there’s some strong disagreement on both sides, but we’re going to work through this and hopefully, do what’s best for Augusta.

The architect working with the Coliseum Authority, Sink Combs Dethlefs, started studying potential sites for the James Brown Arena about a year ago. They say they started with four site possibilities and all of them were centered downtown. Later, a site off Riverwatch Parkway was included, and it wasn’t until May when the Regency Mall was added.

Last month, the architect then presented a plan to the new arena committee to connect the JBA to the Bell Auditorium. Five days later, the Coliseum Authority voted 4 to 2 to move the JBA to the former Regency Mall site, a decision that didn’t just shock the Coliseum Authority but the architects too.

“There’s a lot of great progress going on in your downtown, and it just seemed like with everything else down here it seemed like a really logical choice, and if you remember all the first four sites were downtown,” said architect Michael Harvey.

Down the line, the Coliseum Authority will have another vote on this, so the site for the Regency Mall isn’t set in stone. Harvey says they’re waiting on a decision to be made before they make any concept drawings.