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Mayor Davis talks downtown preparations for Cyber Institute

(WRDW)
Published: Jan. 16, 2017 at 6:23 PM EST
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News 12 First at Five & News 12 NBC 26 @ 6:00 / Monday, Jan. 16, 2017

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Mayor Hardie Davis is walking away from potential and straight into progress.

"The Cyber Institute is a transformative announcement for us here locally, our urban core, and quite frankly our nation," Mayor Hardie Davis.

It's a 50 million dollar cyber institute is on the horizon, and the mayor says the city will be ready for it.

"I don't think any of us realized how quickly we would be in the position we're in, but on a day like today we're reminded of all of the things going on here," he said.

It's a game changer for the city, promising jobs, innovation, and filling a spot that's been vacant for years. It's also setting the scene for real changes in the city.

"We've always been ready for Augusta to take that step forward from a growth perspective. But now we have the opportunity to really change our economy," he said.

The Cyber Institute is only one part of that, another is potential developments at the depot.

"We're tying in the two book ends of the downtown and on Reynolds Street and as they say, Augusta is hoppin' and poppin'," Mayor Davis said.

And there are ideas for what physically connects these two properties as well.

"But to be able to take this Riverwalk and extend it, those are some opportunities that we have to really make Augusta it's finest, really the finest she's ever been," he said.

There's some plans already in the works, like the city's streetscape plans that will start next year. And it's not all about Broad, there are plans to improve Ellis, Telfair, Reynolds and Jones Streets. Looking at the big picture for the city, from end to end, and everything in between.

"All eyes are on the city of Augusta. And we talk about that during Masters but now there's another reason all eyes are on Augusta," he said.

The city is also working on efforts in the short term as well to improve and update downtown, now those efforts have tighter deadlines.

"We've got folks who are doing good work. Now we want to make sure that good work is being done on time, as efficiently as possible, in the budgets we established," the mayor said.

Work has been underway on the Riverwalk since October. Now the mayor is asking crews put sod at James Brown Plaza by mid-February, and there is work to clean the streets downtown. It's a lot to juggle, but Mayor Davis is trying to make sure reasonable projects get done in thirty to sixty days.

"If we're taking action on things, that's not action we want to take on things six to twelve months from now," he said.

The promise of big change, and big expectations for the city means things have to get done in time for these big projects and the mayor is working to make it happen.

"When the governor's office calls on us, when the Georgia Technology Authority calls on us, when they're ready to break ground, Augusta will be ready to roll up our sleeves and help as well," Mayor Davis said.

Tuesday on the commission agenda there are four clean up projects, two on the Riverwalk and two on the James Brown Plaza.