Augusta commissioners reconsidering Boathouse demolition

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The Augusta Boathouse is still the home for the Augusta Rowing Club and some are now saying it should stay that way.

“So many times in this government we make decisions without all the cards on the table and all the players at the table. And this is one of the issues we didn’t have everybody at the table,” said Commissioner Sean Frantom.

Last spring, commissioners voted to demolish the boathouse due to mold and structural damage caused by a water leak. That decision was made after being told repairs could cost up to $2 million.

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But the Rowing Club, which leases the building, did some rehab and brought city leaders in for a second look.

“One of the things I think we need to look at is – do we need to proceed in tearing this down as we initially thought? We had to cause of the damage. I know on the tour, I took the damage was very minimal,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Brandon Garrett.

“I actually met some of the Rowing Club people out there. The bottom the first floor is well maintained; very little mold showing through. They already fixed that,” said Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle.

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There is about $500,000 in sales tax money available for the boathouse and city leaders say now the funds should not be used for demolition.

“That $500,000 we allocated to tear it down. I think it would be a much wiser investment to put it back into that building,” said Commissioner Garrett.

“We know we have some dock issues and I think there’s a push right now to not tear it down and use those funds to maybe re-enhance some of the area,” said Commissioner Frantom.

Rowing Club officials say they would like to see the demolition reconsidered. That would keep the club in it’s home of nearly 30 years.

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