Augusta GA tourism group unveils downtown visitor plan

Augusta GA tourism group unveils downtown visitor plan

published on February 2, 2017 by Columbia County

Tourism officials on Thursday unveiled a long-range plan that calls for linking the Augusta Common to a riverfront marina, increasing public artwork in the city center and allowing visitors to tour downtown in rented golf cars.

With the help of Conventions, Sports & Leisure International, a Minneapolis-based tourism firm, the CVB blueprint identified the following priorities:

• Augusta Common extension: The plan calls for the downtown park to be expanded north across Reynolds Street to the levee, where a gradual incline would form a plaza at the top that connects to a floating riverfront marina where visitors could rent canoes or bikes, take boat rides or simply enjoy drinks and snacks in the heart of downtown.

• Defined downtown districts: The plan would delineate sectors based on how they have naturally developed over the years. The “Hospitality District,” for example, would encircle the Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center and its adjoining properties, while the “Arts & Culture District” would encompass sections of lower Broad Street where the Augusta Museum of History and historic theaters such as the Miller, Imperial and Modjeska are clustered.

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• Increased public art: Public sculptures and statues in Augusta is deficient compared to peer cities, White said. The plan says downtown Augusta has 13 public art examples in a one-mile radius compared to Greenville, S.C.’s 53. Asheville, N.C., White said, has 30 examples of public art within a half-mile radius of its downtown.

• Golf car transportation: To leverage Augusta’s standing as the world’s golf car capital – about 85 percent of production is concentrated here – street-legal, GPS-equipped electric cars would be made available for visitors to rent for downtown “micro tours.”


• Family entertainment development: White pointed to the Columbus, Ga.’s Chattahoochee River Park, which offers urban whitewater rafting and ziplines, as an example of an “adventure park” that could be developed along Augusta Riverwalk.

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• Urban trail completion: The plan says the city should concentrate on finishing the final trail sections to connect to the network that extends up the Augusta Canal to Columbia County and across the Savannah River to North Augusta.

• Creation of an international music festival: Though previous uses of James Brown’s name for festivals have been met with mixed success, the plan recommends creating an international soul music festival whose business plan forecasts profitability within five years.

• Addition of “rectangular” sports fields: Compared to peer cities, metro Augusta is deficient in sports fields that can be used for soccer, lacrosse and Quidditch, a new co-ed contact sport adopted from the Harry Potter series of fantasy books.

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