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Commissioner pushes to allow outside events on city property



AUGUSTA, Ga. – Before it was shutdown by COVID the Saturday Market commissioners want to get the event re-started before it moves someplace else.

The  Saturday Market at Riverwalk  did not  take place at all last year but organizers want return next month, but are being  told hold on.

“It was the same as last year wait until further notice the city was looking at different factors the rate of spread and so forth, said Saturday Market Director Brooke Buxton.

The city of Augusta is playing it safe but some are pushing  to create a new  policy to allow  outside events  on city property like the market.

“You can have outdoor events as long as you put safety measures in and we need to have those discussions  for fear of losing the Augusta market,” said Commissioner Sean Frantom.

Saturday Market organizers don’t want to leave Riverwalk, but there are vendors to sign  up  with and March and other opportunities  quickly approaching.

“This is there livelihood we had small food vendors who lived off of this I mean they survived 2020 but if we don’t make a change they’re going to make a change,” said Buxton.

Those downtown want to see the market back because the  pandemic really impacted  visitors there.

Studies show there were three point two million visits to the area in 2019,  but with the pandemic there was  huge drop with  all the  cancelled events.

“It’s important for us to look at all downtown events and try to find safe ways to get them open we’re down a million visits from 2019,” said Margaret Woodard Executive Director of the Downtown Development Authority.

And city leaders do not want to see a million fewer downtown again this year.

Our neighboring counties are going to have a Saturday market as well and frankly we need to get our act together and make sure it happens in a timely manner,” said Frantom.

Now commissioner Frantom is hopeful city leaders will vote on Monday to allow the Saturday Market to begin operating in March as long as CDC guidelines are followed in Augusta George Eskola WJBF NewsChannel 6.