Jun. 15—Pre-construction issues found on Buena Vista Avenue and Riverside Boulevard made creating a new Public Safety headquarters difficult and costly for the city of North Augusta.
However, City Council members learned during their Monday night study session that the controversial Flythe property on Georgia Avenue could be the new location for a combined Public Safety headquarters.
The original proposed location was one property away from the current location of the North Augusta Department of Public Safety. This project has been in the works since the Capital Project Sales Tax IV was approved in 2018.
The Flythe property became more attractive due to its ability to expand down the line. The design would not have citizens enter from Georgia Avenue but instead from side roadways.
Council member Kevin Toole said this wasn't the update they were hoping for but appreciated the transparency and what the next steps might be to continue.
"I generally support at least exploring that option and taking the next steps appropriately," Toole said. "I can think of about 840-some-odd-thousand reasons that would make East Buena Vista a whole lot less unattractive now than it did before."
Part of the delay for the project came from a "strategic pause" as well as an increase in price for building materials.
Mark Chostner of the project management firm Capstone agrees with the recommendation from North Augusta City Administrator Jim Clifford and staff on building at Georgia Avenue. Building off Georgia Avenue would also be significantly cheaper in site preparation costs.
"We're going to need some time to pivot; and once a decision is made, if we are going with Georgia Avenue from foundations and up, we are going to be in good shape," Chostner said.
"We've been talking about it for two and a half years, and I know that Pat (Carpenter) and David (McGhee) and Bob (Brooks) have been talking about it for longer," Council member Eric Presnell said. "Our police officers and firemen deserve better."
Historic North Augusta and Punch and Judy Players are two local groups that are interested in the property. If sold, the city would have no control over what goes on the property. However, the council is looking for public engagement on how to proceed.
"We're gonna ask the neighbors," North Augusta Mayor Briton Williams said. "We're going to reach the community engagement and get the reviews."
—Mayor Briton Williams discussed his 100 Day Plan, which included Third Thursday.
—Council will vote for the final time on an updated noise ordinance in Riverside Village on June 21.