Commissioners vote to let voters decide future of JBA and Regency Mall

Published: Jan. 16, 2018 at 5:20 PM EST
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Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018

(News 12 at 11)

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The fight over where to put the James Brown Arena has been a heated one. A battle Augusta Commissioners aren't done fighting yet.

“I think whether you were for that site or not for that site - I think at the end of the day -- we had enough of the discussion,” Augusta Commissioner District 6, Ben Hasan.

A discussion continued at this meeting after Commissioner Marion Williams requested a motion to approve the Regency mall location…again.

“I think the majority of voters want to see some growth in Augusta -- we are a great city here but we got so much more to do.”

After a long conversation filled with some support for the Regency mall location and others -- against it.

“As long as we don’t have a good deal or a deal that’s favorable to the citizens of Augusta Richmond County - I can't support that,” Augusta Commissioner District 4, Sammie Sias said.

Commissioners made a choice to let the voters decide.

“Commissioner from the 8th said something that was pretty significant - he said ‘why haven't we said we're gonna let the people decide’,” Augusta Mayor, Hardie Davis.

After a unanimous vote -- all commissioners agreed to put the location for the JBA on the May 22nd ballot. Allowing voters -- to give a yes -- or no answer about whether the arena should stay where it is - or move to the Regency mall site.

“I think this is a great step - I’m very pleased. I won’t need to put it back on the agenda for a while - I think the voter will let me know. I represent the people - this is not about what I want.”

Before it can go on the ballot - both the democratic and republican parties have to agree to it -- but many commissioners say - this is a fair compromise.

“At the end of the day, I’m very satisfied with where we ended up.”

The vote will give commissioners an idea of what site voters like most but commissioners would not be bound by that vote.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- In a commission meeting Tuesday, Augusta Commissioners voted unanimously that the voters should decide where the James Brown Arena location should be.

Voters will get to decide on the May 22, 2018 ballot if the arena should go downtown or at the Regency Mall location.

Commissioner Ben Hasan withdrew a sub-motion to reject the Regency Mall site after Commissioner Marion Williams brought it up again for the third time. Commissioners Sammie Sias and Bill Fennoy spoke that they supported the mall property, but not the deal that went with it.

After lengthy discussion, an idea came up to put the decision on a ballot.

Commissioner Sammie Sias then made a new sub-motion to ask both political parties to put a non-binding yes or no question about where the location of the JBA should go. Mayor Hardie Davis also discussed the possibility of adding the location to a funding source, like a GO bond.