1986: Bankers First Bank with the City of Augusta investigated obtaining an Urban Development Action Grant (UDAG) from U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help finance development of the Augusta Riverfront Center project.

1/21/1986: Augusta Tomorrow, Inc. held the dedication of the Lafayette Center, the name given to the restoration/renovation of the 900 block on Broad Street from 10th Street to McCartan Street. “When Lafayette visited Augusta in 1825, the city united in an incredible spirit of celebration. Our gala grand opening recalls that fun and memorable event. But more importantly, the revitalization signaled by Lafayette Center calls upon that historic Augusta spirit of unity and civic pride” said Osteen.

When the restoration project was finished, Bankers First anchored one end of the block at 10th and Broad Streets and the YMCA building (42,000 sq. ft. for corporate offices and 20,000 sq. ft. for a health club) anchored the other end of the block at McCartan and Broad Streets. In all, 5 historic buildings were totally remodeled including the oldest structure remaining on Broad Street.

Lafayette Center was the largest restoration project in the State of Georgia up to that point. The result was a $10 million historic rehabilitation project for downtown undertaken by Bankers First, a member of Augusta Tomorrow.

Due to the huge investment that they had made to renovate the Lafayette Center block in downtown Augusta, Bankers First was the recipient of a “Best Overall Project” award from The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation for its work on the Lafayette Center project. As CEO of Bankers First, Osteen accepted the award. This marked the first large project of many in Augusta Tomorrow’s history.

2/7/1986: Riverwalk groundbreaking ceremony was held to initiate $3,450,000 in riverfront improvements. The blueprint, designed by Tom Robertson from the engineering firm of Cranston, Robertson and Whitehurst, included:
• Breach of the levee at 8th Street with emergency gate
• Two bulkheads in the Savannah River
• Construction of a brick walkway (esplanade) on top of the levee
• Construction of an overlook and 12 seating areas on the river side of the levee
• Construction of a pedestrian river walk with seating areas along the river
• Extensive landscaping and lighting
• Construction of interpretive plaques, directories, flags, etc.
• Reconstruction of Oglethorpe Park near the Southern Railroad bridge crossing.

7/30/1986: Due to major efforts by Representative Doug Barnard, the U.S. House of Representatives, recommended $4 million in Railroad-Highway Crossing projects be allocated to Augusta. This funding was for railroad relocation and grade separation projects.

8/5/1986: Mayor DeVaney wrote to Senators Sam A. Nunn and Mack Mattingly requesting support for passage of the $4 million railroad relocation and grade separation projects in the Senate.