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Augusta Arena Site Sent to Nonbinding Referendum

For its latest decision concerning the site of a proposed Augusta arena, the Augusta City Commission has opted to put the question before voters in a nonbinding referendum. 

Officials in Augusta have been locked into a debate about the site for a proposed new arena. Since an August vote by the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority to pursue the location, some have come out in favor of constructing the new arena at the Regency Mall site, citing the potential economic benefits it could bring to south Augusta. In other circles, however, there have been calls to construct a new arena in the city’s downtown.

The city commission has previously rejected the Regency Mall proposal, but considered it again Tuesday. In Tuesday’s vote, commissioners decided by a 9-0 margin to make the site of the proposed arena the subject of a nonbinding referendum. The questions would appear on the May 22 ballots of both major political parties. More from The Augusta Chronicle:

Commissioner Sammie Sias’ motion – to ask both political parties to place a nonbinding yes-or-no question about building at Regency, and building at the current James Brown Arena site – passed 9-0 with Commissioner Andrew Jefferson out.

Sias made the motion after Commissioner Ben Hasan withdrew an earlier substitute motion to reject the Regency site outright and ask Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority to look elsewhere.

The ballot questions – which will not appear on the nonpartisan version of the May 22 ballot – will show voters’ preference of a site but won’t require the arena to be built. The May elections include Mayor Hardie Davis’ seat, four commission races and several judgeships and state party primaries.

A new Augusta arena would replace James Brown Arena, the downtown venue that opened in 1980.

RELATED STORIES: Augusta Arena Pitch Referred to City CommissionCommission Votes to End Augusta Arena at Regency Mall TalksAugusta Arena at Regency Mall RejectedAugusta Arena Vote Set for TuesdayDeadline Imposed on Augusta Arena NegotiationsRegency Mall Site Eyed for Augusta ArenaAugusta Slowing Down Arena PursuitAugusta Close to Selecting New Arena SiteAugusta Meets with Arena Design FirmsJames Brown Arena’s Success Fuels New Arena Talks

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