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2815 Meredyth Drive Albany, Georgia 31707-2290 Phone 229-439-9734
April 26, 2003
Dear Senator(s) Chambliss and Miller, and
We extend our sincere thanks to you and
your staff for the help and support provided in obtaining the December 31, 2003,
extension of the previous deadline for the demolition of the Radium Springs
Casino. No doubt, the Casino would have been demolished by now, had you not
intervened. Our thanks, also, to your staff, who have supported our efforts.
The extension was a great relief, however the problem is not yet resolved. We are not skilled at the legislative process, therefore we cannot predict what actions you will take or what information you will need. As you can imagine, the issue is extremely complex.
We have enclosed the publication, “SKYWATER”, a comprehensive history of Radium Springs. Once reviewed, you will have a greater appreciation of the beauty and majesty of Radium Springs. Also enclosed are documents supporting our concerns and the content of this letter. These documents are critical to your understanding the significance of our request. We have taken the privilege of highlighting certain important sections meriting your close attention. But since we believe that the last transfer of the deed to Dougherty County by FEMA in conjunction with GEMA was flawed and therefore not legitimate, we are providing the following information, in case that is the approach you want to take.
The following questions are clearly at
is the documentation used to determine the requirement for a full environmental
review was not necessary for the Radium Casino property demolition?
2) Why was the Radium Springs Casino, a
commercial property located at 2501 Radium Springs Road, bundled into a Housing
Acquisition Program and approved as an add-on to FEMA Grant #1033-1095, 16
months and 8 days after the original residential property grant was approved and
additionally granted the same environmental categorical exclusion?
Why was FEMA willing to approve payment and related acquisition cost, of which
FEMA’s share was $1,877,250, for a property that could have been elevated out of
the 100 Year Flood Plain for less than $350,000 and still accomplish the intent
If answers to these questions are sought,
we predict there may be certain other questions FEMA will need to answer.
The Springs and Skywater Creek are owned
by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and will be properly preserved
by DNR. However, the Casino Building and surrounding grounds, now owned by
Dougherty County, are under deed restrictions requiring the removal or
demolition of the Casino. The former owner, under mandate from FEMA, placed
these restrictions on the County at the time the Casino property was conveyed to
the County. This was a condition of the payment for the property with Federal
Funds. As previously noted, there was absolutely no consideration given for the
needed 4’ elevation of the building to place it out of the flood plain.
We believe a workable solution can be
found, not only to preserve the building, but also to improve it for future
generations to enjoy. However, the deed restriction demands FEMA release the
County from the demolition requirement. If FEMA is unable or unwilling to
relent, we request you have prepared and introduced in Congress, special
legislation that would exempt the Casino from the FEMA mandate of demolition,
allowing instead the necessary 4’ foot elevation out of the flood plain. This
will meet the FEMA requirements and allow the building to remain where it is.
Moreover, we believe a mistake was made by
FEMA when they purchased the Radium Springs Casino property with the restriction
it be demolished without a proper EIS in lieu of elevating it out of the flood
plain; and for Albany, as well as the State of Georgia, a travesty will occur if
FEMA’s mandate to demolish the Casino is allowed to stand.
We believe two wrongs cannot make a right. Therefore, we ask that you meet at the earliest possible time to determine the best and swiftest resolution to this complicated problem. We stand ready to meet with you and/or any member of your staff and legal counsel to discuss, in detail, the additional reasons we have concluded that FEMA is in violation of 44CFR10.8.
Should this be accomplished, we are investigating the possibility of a venture with Albany Tomorrow, Inc. (ATI), which is presently in the process of developing River Walk (the outside hubs being Chehaw Park and Radium Springs), or the creation of a state authority.
With warmest personal regards and highest esteem, we remain
The Radium Springs Casino Preservation Group
SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS FOR LETTER TO SENATORS AND CONGRESSMAN
(CLICK TO ENLARGE)