A century and a half after the American Civil War, Augusta’s Sons of Confederate Veterans has another fight on their hands – trying to protect the 1878 memorial monument from skateboarders.
“We’re just trying to preserve it,” said Quartermaster Joe Winstead, who spent two days this week on a project at the steps of the monument in the 700 block of Broad Street.
When it first became an issue, the group pulled more than $1,200 from its dues to put up short, thick posts and a heavy black chain around the 76-foot-tall Georgia granite and Italian marble monument. Winstead said he hoped it would prevent further damage. Instead it appears the barrier provides an additional challenge for the skateboarders.
“They have no respect,” he said of the monument that was dedicated in 1878. “When they chip off the steps, there’s nothing we can do. It’s gone forever.”
Already the steps are blackened and scarred from the frequent contact with the boards. The posts and fence, installed less than a month ago by members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, will also have to pulled up and replaced at members’ expense.
“Everything we’ve done came out of pocket,” Winstead said. “The city didn’t spend a dime, but we didn’t ask them to.”
On several occasions, members have spotted skateboarders at the site but have been unable to catch them.
Richmond County code 3-8-17 prohibits use of skateboards and skates on any street, alley, sidewalk, park, median or parking area between the levee and Walton Way and between Fourth and 15th streets. Anyone found in violation will be charged with a misdemeanor, officials said.
The members of the local chapter of Sons of Confederate Veterans are working on another out-of-pocket project at the steps of the monument, but they’re concerned the new project could also be damaged if the skateboard vandalism isn’t stopped.
The members are filling in holes in the sidewalk where trees once grew and planning to add granite pavers in the gaps. Families can then purchase recognition for engraving an ancestors name for $50.