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DaGABoyStinger

Evans-Columbia County

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Yeah, you read me right, and I really did see this coming. There is talk rumored around the AUG metro and reported in the Augusta Chronicle today (8/10/2005) that the county may be looking into incorporating Evans as a city and then possibly consolidating this city with the rest of unincorporated Columbia County, therefore permantly stifling any potential city limit expansions from Grovetown and Harlem (CC's only two actual incorporated cities).

If this actually happens East-Central Georgia will have two of Georgia's top biggest municipalities (in terms of land area).

And of course none of this is set in stone yet, but is in serious controversy throughout the region, and already has gained some support from some residents and a state official.

Interesting fact off CC's website: Columbia County's sister city is Nowy Sacz, Poland.

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Suburbia strikes again. I see that Evans is still rolling forward with plans for world domination. Nonetheless, a consolidated Evans-Columbia County shouldn't do much more than boost the already high morale for Columbia County. Who knows? Maybe if it keeps on growing at this rate it'll become sort of Augusta's second city...kind of like how Sandy Springs is to Atlanta. Interesting developments here. :D

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As much as I loathe Columbia County, incorporation is the very best step it can take right now. I'm interested in seeing what the opinions of those in Martinez is... Although I personally can't tell where Martinez ends and Evans begins, some people do they its important to differentiate between the two... Grovetown and Harlem are complaining about this stifling their growth, but the way the county is growing, I think they'll do just find once the sprawl makes it to them.

It would be pretty cool to have two cities over 100,000 in the Augusta metro though.

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The one good thing about Evans, (if there can be anything good said about it) is that county leaders are wanting it to become very dense and are encouraging new-urbanist projects as opposed to typical southern sprawl developments. One of the leaders was quoted as saying he wanted Evans to become more like the "Phipps Plaza area" of Atlanta, with highrise condos and office buildings. Not sure if he has been around Buckhead but most of it really isnt that urban or dense. As for Evans it has a LONG way to go before it ever gets anywhere near it wants to be. The only semi-urban like development going on now is the Marshall Square thing but that is still in planning stages. Everything else going up in Evans (there are AT LEAST 6 new strip malls and maybe 6-7 new restaurants) are all suburban style power center type deals, like the new super Target-Kohls center.

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Topher, from my experience, Martinez starts along the Columbia County line (around Pleasant home road) and ends about where the Kroger is near the intersection of Columbia Rd. and Washington Rd. Evans starts there. Before Martinez (in Richmond county) you have West Augusta.

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well actually, I don't think that's EVER gonna happen, mainly because the demographics between the counties are so different. Two completely different income levels, attitudes, etc. It would really further split Augusta in two more seriously noticible parts. And the line is already thick enough as it is.

In fact I believe that's why they are considering consolidating in the first place. Columbia County (from reading about them from their offical website) seems to have its own agenda to become it's own separate independant place, away from Augusta, kinda like how Marietta almost is it's own place near the root city, or maybe like Greenville and Spartanburg. Augusta may be the place to work and currently to shop (heed I said "currently"), but Columbia County is the place to live, and already to be for work and play. I think people there soon may want to be from "Evans" and not really "Augusta"

Everyday you hear about a restaurant downtown that's been there for decades suddenly just close up shop and move to a completely different county, just to possibly make 4 times the profit, ignoring any positive presence it may have served to the community. And then you have a ghost town infested with crime and god knows what else, and also an end to a once prosperous place. Right now I think Augusta is the only area I know of that seems to have it's this problem of "shifting-over" if you will. OR maybe even like a growing "ring of fire", burns ferociously at the edges but is dark, black and lifeless in the inner core. But I don't know this is just my opinion. Hopefully someday, someone or something will change this.

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The flight from the center city isn't historically unique to Augusta, but many cities these days are turning the pattern around. The resurgence of restaurants and bars in DT in the 90's looked like the start to something big, but it seems to have been stagnant for a few years now. The only good thing that I see is that, while many local DT restaurants are opening Columbia County locations, most are still keeping the DT locations.

One thing that Columbia Co. can never take from Augusta is nightlife, since traditional bars are illegal in the county. If Columbia County 20-30-somethings are OK with hanging out at TGI-Fridays, they'll be fine, but if they want to go to a real bar or club, they have to come to Augusta. And I hear First Friday is really starting to pick up again. I went to the last big one a few years ago (right before the strict alcohol regulations began), and it was a blast. It honestly felt like New Orleans. I'd love to see DT relax the First Friday laws again, and make it a true street party again.

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Downtown Augusta has transformed drastically since Ive lived there. There were maybe 3-4 decent bars/clubs Downtown when i left and the last time I drove through Downtown at night a few months back it was totally buzzing with new bars/clubs some with lines stretching down the street. Seems sort of opposite from most of the southern Downtowns these days with life actually "picking up" after dark.

And as far as Evans goes...Even if I were a SUV driving, cell phone talking to the kids in the backseat soccer Mom, I would MUCH prefer Richmond County over Columbia. There are many beautiful upscale areas intown that offer so much more than Evans ever could. Too bad the public schools in Richmond county arent up to par anymore!

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With the exception of Harlem, I have no use for Columbia County. The fact that the county seat situation is so convoluted is reason enough to dislike the place.

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Spartan, alot of Georgia counties are that way. I dont think Columbia county can really help that the growth in Evans (which is not even a real city) is coming from Augusta. Back in the 1800's or whenever Appling was named seat of the County Im sure they didnt expect Augusta to swallow the eastern half of Columbia county in suburban sprawl. BTW, why is Harlem an exception?

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Yeah, I do agree with you Socaguy. In fact the last ime I was home in Augusta, I drove around the Lake Forest Rd/Walton Way Ext. area and was really blown away by the various types of architecture there. But since I'm originally from the southside AUG, it just seems to me that more emphasis and focus should be concentrated on that side of town. The people ARE there and I believe that if more effective planning and effort was put in to are from both city leaders and citizens themselves, then Columbia county wouldn't stand out as much and be as dominant in representing the overall Augusta Area.

Some progress has been made (a new Applebees and a Ruby Tuesday on the way), but I know there can be more if more support is rallied.

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I grew up in Augusta and haven't been back to look around in 5 years (been back to the parent's house, but that was it). I drove up Washington Rd. towards Pollard's Corner the other weekend and was blown away with all of the development along that road in Columbia County. It is trully amazing how it has grown in the last few years.

I think if Columbia County consolidates, maybe it will encourage Augusta's leaders to get their act together and focus on their own. South Augusta would be a great starting point. Plenty of room to grow into a stand out area of it's own. West Augusta is full. South Augusta is where the focus needs to be.

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Spartan,  alot of Georgia counties are that way.  I dont think Columbia county can really help that the growth in Evans (which is not even a real city) is coming from Augusta.  Back in the 1800's or whenever Appling was named seat of the County Im sure they didnt expect Augusta to swallow the eastern half of Columbia county in suburban sprawl.  BTW,  why is Harlem an exception?

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What other counties have that situation? I was only aware of Columbia County. I understand the situation with Appling, and that set up seems ineffecient, and unnecessary.

Harlem seems like a nice town, and should retain its identity. The rest of that county is either sprawl or nothing. That has been my experience with it.

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Well Spartan youve got me stumped because now i cannot think of any examples of other Georgia counties like that. I know there are some just cant think right now. The counties and towns in Ga. are a little [email protected] up IMO though. Macon is not in Macon county, and Forsyth is not in Forsyth county. etc. etc.

I lived in Augusta for a long time but to tell you the truth, I dont think Ive ever been to Harlem. I was in Grovetown not too long ago looking for a new car and was suprised to see how big it was getting. Row after Row of new housing and from what i hear it is only going to get worse with that 1000 home development being built.

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^ Your statement sounds accurate to me. Columbia Co. could switch places with almost any metro Atlanta sprawl county and no one would know the difference. I consider Columbia Co. to be Augusta's Lexington Co. The sprawl is exactly the same, plus they both are booming with lake/riverfront developments (Lake Murray in Lexington, and Clark's Hill/Savannah River in Columbia Co.). Regardless of geography, sprawl is sprawl, and Columbia Co. is as generic as it comes.

I can't say I hate Columbia Co, since the area would be stagnant without it, but I just wish these people would find the charm in some of the metro's more established areas.

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An update on the potential Evans-Columbia County. They are one step closer to being a reality. If approved to be presented to the Georgia Legislature and passed, then voters could vote on it by July of next year (2006)

From AUG Chronicle:

"If approved by voters, he said, it would cause Evans to be incorporated as a city and simultaneously be consolidated with the county government, causing no change in how the county government now works.

Mr. Cross said incorporating is important for the future of Columbia County, in part, because it would make it eligible for certain federal funds and could bring in as much as $5 million a year in franchise fees, which are collected from telephone, cable television, electricity and natural gas companies.

Officials for the cities of Grovetown and Harlem, however, have expressed concern with the consolidation idea, saying it would land-lock their boundaries."

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So the metro area would be called Augusta-Evans-Aiken CMSA. Interesting. Maybe if they develop a dense little downtown area with highrises, like they want, it wont be so bad. Right now it is nothing but endless sprawl.

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It would probably be called Augusta-Evans GA-SC MSA. Aiken got kicked out of the MSA name in the 2003 definitions after Augusta-Richmond County consolidated.

From my understanding, the only time that more than one city is included in the MSA name is when there are multiple cities of comparable size (there are specific rules governing this that I'm not solid on). Pre-consolidation, Augusta had around 45,000 people and Aiken had ~20,000 so it made sense to call it Augusta-Aiken GA-SC MSA. Now that Augusta has ~190,000 to Aiken's 28,000, Aiken is no longer included. Here's the current definition from census.gov.

12260                   Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC Metropolitan Statistical Area

12260           13033         Burke County, GA

12260           13073         Columbia County, GA

12260           13189         McDuffie County, GA

12260           13245         Richmond County, GA

12260           45003         Aiken County, SC

12260           45037         Edgefield County, SC

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Hi everyone-

I just stumbled here to this forum. I've been offered a civilian position based at Ft. Gordon and I'm flying down there on the 25th of Sept. I'll be shown around the area, etc. I live in Rhode Island now (I work in Newport). I'm not sure if I will accept the positon yet. I'm trying to get honest opinions of the area; which area (Augusta, Evans, etc) has the better schools (I have 2 kids), low crime rate? My wife and I enjoy arts & culture, and enjoy taking the kids out on the weekends. Any information would be helpful. If I take the position, I want to make the uprooting of my family as painless as possible and ensure I can tend to my family in a safe and healthly environment. Anyone have any suggestions on where to look during my visit? Thanks for helping me out! :)

Mike

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Augusta, and anywhere else in Georgia is a great place to live. It's thriving and growing and has very pleasent Falls and Winters, we have very hot and humid summers though. Augusta itself is a pretty urban in nature and I'm sure has a lot of cultural instutituins however, the areas around Augusta in the more rural areas are kind of backwards, but It's getting better. Right now, Augusta is experiencing a bit of a white flight and alot of people are moving to the suburbs. Overall, I'd say Augusta is a great place to live and it'll only get better.

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Hi MikeR. I grew up in Augusta and consider it a great place to live. One day I would like to move back there. As far as good schools go, Columbia County/Evans is the place to be unless you are interested in sending your kids to private schools. If that's the case, I definitely recomend the West Augusta or Hill/Summerville areas of town. Between the hill and downtown is where you will find the most arts abd culture. I'm sure that there are plenty of other good areas, but that is my two cents.

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Columbia County: Pros: One of the best school systems in GA, Money magazine's #32 best place to live and raise a family, conveinant shopping centers, movie theathers, etc.

CONS: increasing growth=more traffic problems=longer commutes.

Richmond county: Pros: Magnet Schools (at all grade levels) boast highest rankings in GA (Davidson Fine Arts is ranked consistantly #1 HS in GA), Not as much traffic=faster commute times with Ft. Gordon and downtown. (Spurs of residential homes around base with moderately low crime rates.), Houses of similar size, sell for Ten-Thousands less than Columbia. Downtown has most of the cultural attractions (museums, nature parks/trails, etc).

CONS: High crime generally in Central city and below downtown. On the fringes of South Augusta, not nearly as much (in my personal experience JUST AS SAFE as Columbia). Not as much progressive economic and quality of life advancement as Columbia. Somewhat of an "unstable" city-county government

Either way, if you live in Richmond or not you will have to encounter it in everyday basis. My best advice to you too is to also check out some of these areas, to see for yourself. Both sides have there good parts and there are some bad and no area is truly "safe" from crime, so to me both counties seem to be about the same to me. But I guess it just depends on what you would rather handle. And both areas have distinct areas not too alike from it's neighboring areas. So shop around.

Edited by DaGABoyStinger

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Hi again -

Newman, dromulus, thedude26, & DaGABoyStinger, thanks for your posts. I will check out Evans, Summerville and other places you mentioned. One question - how long would the commute be from Evans to Ft. Gordon? I see on the map that Ft. Gordon is directly west of Augusta, and Evans is further north. My commute now to work is 25 minutes in the offseason, and 35 in the summer months (Newport, RI is one of the biggest summer tourist draws in New England). Knowing the commute would also help factor in on what I should decide. Thanks!

Mike

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