Shell Berry, CEO of the Community Foundation at CSRA, at a Wednesday press conference standing in front of a new artist showcase Headquarters and Support Center for Boys & Augusta Girls’ Clubs [Miguel Legas / Augusta Chronicle]
Community leaders say a $ 10 million gift from the Augusta National Golf Club and its corporate partners announced Wednesday will provide a much-needed boost to two urban neighborhoods in need of revitalization
The Augusta National Prize of $ 2 5 million gifts, matched by AT&T, Bank of America and IBM, will help build a non-profit community center known as « The Hub », as well as a new headquarters for the & Girls’ Clubs in Augusta, on part of 35 Acre tract owned by Georgia Medical College Foundation
The property is at the intersection of 15th and John C.
Augusta National Board Chairman Fred Ridley said during his annual State of Professors speech that the gift « will provide most of the funding needed for this first step in the upgrading journey of these underprivileged communities, and most importantly, promoting generational change and the opportunity for economic mobility that all Americans deserve. »
“This shared belief with our partners will attract more development and investment designed to benefit the residents of Harrisburg and Laney-Walker neighborhoods, all of which can help build bridges out of poverty and make Augusta a better place to live,” Ridley said
Funds will flow to the projects through the Central Savannah River Community Foundation, which has long been a conduit for Augusta’s National Donations in the metro area.
The two facilities – 25,000 square feet for The Hub and 15,000 square feet for & Girls’ & Office – will help the University of Augusta MCG Foundation to initiate a multi-use redevelopment plan over the years for the property, previously occupied by Central Square Which is anchored in Kroger
President of MCG C Benjamin Dale said discussions began to merge more than a year ago after advisers recommended that redevelopment plans include facilities that will serve neighborhoods.
“We have shifted our focus to finding ways that not only benefit Augusta University but also take care of these residents, whose communities have seen many years of under-investment,” Dale said during a press conference after the announcement in Harrisburg St. Luke United Methodist Church
MCG CEO Ian Mercer said the gift discussions advanced as Augusta National rallied around the concept
“Their contribution was more generous than we expected,” Mercer said, indicating that the projects would also qualify for federal new market tax credits, which could help reduce nearly 40% of the project’s investment costs.
Harrisburg and Laney-Walker neighborhoods are both listed as Historic Areas on the National Park Service Historic Places Register
The Lanny Walker / Bethlehem neighborhood, located in the south and east of the city’s medical district, has been the heart of African American urban society since the late nineteenth century. Harrisburg, located west of the city’s central business district, has been a stable blue collar neighborhood that primarily houses Families work in the nearby textile mills, the last of which closed in the early 2000s
Both historic neighborhoods have undergone revitalizing fast food initiatives in recent years, but poverty rates remain above average and home ownership rates are below average in the region
“These historic Augusta districts are less than a mile from Augusta National Park and just west of downtown,” Ridley said, “In once thriving communities, both Harrisburg and Laney-Walker have suffered decades of under-investment Poverty, crime and unemployment «
Officials have estimated construction costs at $ 13 million. Work on the buildings will be concurrently completed, with foundation stone laid in April.
“We’ve been moving forward at a very fast pace,” Community Foundation CEO, Shell said Perry at the press conference after the announcement “And of course today’s announcement definitely puts an enormous amount of gas in the engine to help make this vision a reality.” p>
The Hub, which carries a sub-brand as the “Community Innovation Center”, will “foster innovation and collaboration between community organizations, businesses, citizens and residents” in order to “ultimately transform the future of these historic neighborhoods.” Future tenants will include non-profit organizations Such as the Harrisburg Family Health Clinic, the Urban Horticulture Advocacy Group locally, Communities in Schools, a resource for public school children from disadvantaged families
The Hub is designed as a « hotspot » for « people with poverty, lack of access to basic resources, generations of neglect and divestment »
The & Girls’ Clubs at the current headquarters of Augusta, at 206 Milledge Road, is a former 4,000-square-foot bank branch in need of comprehensive repairs.The new office building will allocate space for youth workforce development programs and other youth services
David Seaton, the National President of the & Girls’ Clubs of America for Boys and a graduate of North Augusta High School, was present at the post-announcement event and praised the gift
“I had the opportunity to speak to a lot of our experts, the kids of the club, from Denzel Washington to our patriotic youth of the year today, and every one of them will tell you that the & Girls’ Clubs have saved their lives. Another thing apart from this discussion tonight, you are saving lives. ”
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