AUGUSTA, Ga. – One Augusta that works for all is the mayor’s message.
“In order for Augusta to truly be great, it must be a city for all of us,” said Mayor Hardie Davis during his virtual State of the City address Thursday. “Augusta, our time is now.”
Referencing Augusta-native and former Georgia Gov. Carl Sanders, Davis said the city is faced with its greatest challenge and promise: measuring progress by not adding to those who have much but providing ample opportunities to those who have little.
Preserving affordable housing, providing job training and placement, expanding transportation options and “protecting the safety and welfare of our entire community” will be key.
“We’re working to make our city one that works for all of her residents,” Davis said.
The mayor said they are committed to increasing the city’s inventory of affordable housing so families will not be displaced. He highlighted the $32 million Beacon Station complex that has “spurred development” along with investments of $2.8 million in new-home construction and renovations.
He also cited the Fight Blight program, which demolishes old, dilapidated structures to promote safety and economic development. Davis said several structures have been demolished since the program’s launch in 2019.
Davis said, in the last year, the city has 760 new businesses and there’s more work to do.
“We know there’s no ‘one size that fits all’ approach,” he said. “In downtown, we’ll continue to support the downtown development authority and work with our department leaders to develop a program being used in other cities that will create a demolition program with jobs training and skills.”
The mayor applauded the city’s $18 million Regency Mall-area Augusta Transit Center that opened in October 2020 along with a new bus fleet.
Davis said the new Augusta Transit headquarters will also be important to improving the area around Gordon Highway and Deans Bridge Road, which has been neglected for too long, he said, and as a result, the schools have been underperforming and crime rates have been increasing.
“Investing in areas south of Gordon Highway means that Augustans in our most densely-populated area will see growth and opportunity where they live and experience the same hope and excitement about present and future opportunities in our city,” he said.
What did Mayor Davis ask of residents?
“Over six years ago, I ran for mayor with the campaign slogan ‘One Augusta,’ a city that works for everyone, and I truly believe that ideal for our city. We’re well known for, and we take pride in the fact that we are the home of the Masters, James Brown and the cyber-security capital of the nation. But we can’t tout that with integrity unless we are a community that cares for, respects and values each and every member of our city.”
“I would ask you, what can you do to build Augusta’s future? How can you reimagine Augusta? What can you do to enhance our city and make prosperity real for all Augustans?”