Augusta is extremely fortunate to have a medical community second to none. The medical community is the single largest employer in the region. There is no other community sector that has the economic impact and potential of this economic engine. There are several important hospitals located in this geographic area including the State of Georgia's only Health Science University - The Georgia Health Science University.
Both the City and the local health sciences community are working together to further develop this geographic area into a District that competes on the national level in both patient treatment and research.
The Medical District Implementation Team held meetings and conducted discussions with State political and bioscience leaders and local health care institutions to gain insight into real options available for developing the Health Sciences Park as envisioned in The Westobou Vision Master Plan.
The medical district cuts a wide swath of land from the hospitals towards the Savannah river and incorporates a portion of Augusta's former mill district, with its still operating canal system and number of iconic nationally significant historic structures.
The most important of these mills in this district are the Enterprise and Sutherland Mills. Both have undergone renovations to new uses. Sutherland Mill is on the left below and Enterprise Mill is on the right.
The St. Sebastian Way Road project was first conceived in the mid-1990s by Augusta Tomorrow board members in collaboration with the Georgia Department of Transportation. It is now almost complete and partially opened on 9/1/2010 (see photo below). The roadway was introduced to accomplish three objectives:
- To improve traffic to the Medical District from the west and bypass local railroad tracks;
- To provide a new and more direct connection between the Medical District and the downtown urban area; and
- To facilitate development of the Medical District along this new roadway.
Since the road opened allowing access from the west, it has become the preferred route from Interstate-20 and west Augusta. It is also becoming the road of choice from the hospitals to downtown Augusta, showing that the vision so many years ago was on target.
The above photo shows the St. Sebastian Way Roadway completed.