Central Martinez development study featured in Augusta area newspaper

The Columbia County News Times pointed the public to the Central Martinez Area Study web site, where the latest version of the study has been posted. The study focuses on future development plans for the area of Washington Road from Davis Road to Bobby Jones Expressway.

Martinez development study goes online
By Preston Sparks
Columbia County News Times

Consultants have updated a Central Martinez Area study and are now ready to display it for the public’s review.

An update of the study, which focuses on future development plans for the area of Washington Road from Davis Road to Bobby Jones Expressway, was to be posted on a consultant Web site (www.tunspan.com/martinez) today for viewing, said Caleb Racicot, of the Atlanta firm Tunnell-Spangler-Walsh & Associates, which is assisting Columbia County with the plan.

The final update comes after three public meetings – held March 30, May 10 and Sept. 29.

Racicot said the study was changed little because of the positive reaction by residents during the public meetings.

“It was very reaffirming,” he said.

After a review phase, the plan will go before county commissioners, who will decide whether the plan should be implemented to preserve businesses in the Central Martinez Area and add new amenities.

Racicot said the central site the plan focuses on is the West Town Shopping Center.

“What we see as the catalyst project is the Kmart shopping center,” he said.

The first step of redeveloping the area of the West Town Shopping Center fronting Washington Road would include adding several new businesses there within the next five to 10 years.

Parking decks also could be added where the shopping center parking lot is now.

Twenty years out, if Kmart were to close, Racicot has said, the Kmart site also could be developed into a main street/town square concept. Also, neighborhoods behind Kmart could be developed to become more upscale.

Racicot said that if the study is approved, residents would first see improvements such as “putting sidewalks where they’re missing.”

A realignment of Marsella Avenue at Bobby Jones Expressway also is a recommendation that would occur in a first phase, he said.