By Tara Wood, Media and Community Coordinator, DDA Augusta
As we approach November 7th, we have a unique opportunity to shape the future of our city by voting ‘Yes’ for the new James Brown Arena. It’s important to understand that the decision we make at the polls will have a significant impact on regional tourism, economic growth, and our ability to attract top talent. This pivotal vote is not just about the physical structure of the arena but also investing in Augusta.
Richmond County residents are being asked to vote on approving C-SPLOST, a temporary half-penny sales tax that will be used to construct a new state-of-the-art facility where the existing arena currently stands. Since this tax is a sales tax and not a property tax, experts predict that more than 40% of the project will be paid by visitors to our community. If passed, it is expected that the new arena will generate $1.6 billion in direct, indirect, and induced spending within the community from sources such as ticket sales, restaurant visits, and hotel stays.
The new arena is expected to create 600 jobs, add 4.5 acres of new greenspace, and attract 245, 000 annual visitors to travel to over 420 annual event days. The downtown Augusta skyline will also be enhanced as the building height will increase by an additional 50 feet! With a boon for local tourism, the arena will serve as a catalyst for the growth of retail, dining, housing, and the opening of more small local businesses.
The James Brown Arena is structurally outdated and functionally inefficient due to its age and condition. The stage is incapable of supporting modern rigging and the heavy weight of most major touring shows. This results in Augusta losing opportunities to attract top talent and high-quality entertainment events. The new state-of-the-art arena will have greatly updated amenities, 3,000 additional seats, rooftop terraces, and more event days. This will attract visitors, businesses, and patrons, and inject vital energy into our local economy.
Although we will be able to attract popular shows and events, the vote is not just about entertainment or the construction of a building. What is at stake is a project that will yield benefits and stimulate the growth of nearby areas, shaping the direction of the city and influencing downtown’s promising and inevitable potential. Voting YES vote helps ensure the success and longevity of our city. By investing in world-class infrastructure, we signal that we’re open for business, positioned for growth, and wholly confident in the future of Augusta.
Let’s demonstrate our love and pride for our city by voting YES on November 7th!