A new lease agreement between Augusta and Columbia County officials should make parking a little easier in the future at Savannah Rapids Pavilion.
The lease, signed Nov. 9, is for 50 years and allows Columbia County an extra acre of land for parking near the pavilion for that time period, said Barry Smith, the county's community and leisure services director.
The land where the pavilion is located is in Columbia County, but Smith said Richmond County still owns the tract as part of the Augusta Canal.
The lease for the 33-acre tract of land originally was set to run out in 2041, but at Smith's request the lease was extended through 2054, with the extra acre added for parking.
"The lease is important because it will allow us to implement the master plan in its entirety with a larger parking lot,'' Smith said, adding that the extended lease was requested because of the investment Columbia County has made in the pavilion area.
Two years from now, Smith said, the county will have invested a total of $6 million in the pavilion area in improvements.
He said the extra acre of land included in Tuesday's lease agreement will add about 70 parking spaces. That improvement, he said, will start in about a year and a half.
A phase of improvements involving the paving of another area for an additional 100 parking spaces will begin in the next three months, he said, adding that the pavilion area currently has about 260 spaces.
The improvement phase involving 100 spaces being paved will cost about $625,000, he said.
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