As a member of the grassroots group that wanted to save the Augusta Golf and Gardens, I must comment on Mayor Deke Copenhaver's energy and perseverance in negotiations to get the gardens in local control, and on Recreation Department Director Tom Beck's and his staff's efforts to get the gardens groomed and ready to open to the public today.
In our instant-gratification society, it was so refreshing to see the mayor persevere as obstacles were thrown in his way. The mayor worked tirelessly and with unbelievable patience to get the gardens in local control. While most would have let frustration win out, he countered each obstacle with a solution. When anti-Augusta influences tried to counter any move, he danced around them with grace and ease.
Once the deal was done, Tom Beck and his recreation department staff came in with limited resources and a great attitude, and gave the gardens life again. When most folks would have said "no way," they said "can do."
Sure, plants were lost and statues were whisked away, but the beauty of these gardens will be renewed. Everyone can see the beginning of this rebirth when they swing open the gates to the gardens, now that visiting is free of charge to the public, for the first time ever today.
I hope everyone enjoys their visit, and if you see the mayor or Mr. Beck, tell them, "Thanks, and great job."
Bradley H. Usry, Augusta