Neighborhood of the week: Downtown Augusta

Downtown Augusta is home to the Aitken family.
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Downtown Augusta is more than just the place where Matt Aitken attends Augusta Commission meetings.

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Matt Aitken, his wife, Melissa, and their daughter, Cecilia call downtown Augusta their home.

  Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Matt Aitken, his wife, Melissa, and their daughter, Cecilia call downtown Augusta their home.

It's also the place he calls home, along with his wife, Melissa, and their daughter, Cecilia.

"It's a great place to live. It's centrally located to banks, to restaurants, to the Common, the river," said the District 1 commissioner. "I think there are more people getting interested in this type of living."

The location is convenient, Melissa Aitken said.

"I like the fact that we can walk to everything," she said. "There is a lot to do in a close proximity."

The Aitkens moved into their Telfair Street home nearly two years ago.

The home, also known as the Hugh E. Dempsey House, was built about 1870. According to Historic Augusta Inc., Dempsey was the division superintendent of the Southern Express Co., which delivered packages, parcels and shipments in the region by rail.

It took 14 months to renovate and update the house, Matt Aitken said. Throughout the process, it was important for them to ensure that the historic elements remained intact.

"The character inside this home, as well as out, you can't build this kind of character," he said. "You might could, but it would be a huge amount of money.

"The staircases, the high ceilings, some of the trim work, the charm of the hardwood floors, the big windows -- it's those things that make historic homes special."

The Aitkens received a 2009 Preservation Award from Historic Augusta Inc.

"Knowing how many people have been in this house before us is really significant," Melissa Aitken said. "This house has played an important role in the lives of several others and now, it's the place we call home. These walls have seen a lot of history."


At home with

THE FAMILY: Matt and Melissa Aitken and their 3-year-old daughter, Cecilia

THE HOME: Built in the 1870s, with four bedrooms and four bathrooms

IT'S A FACT: The Aitkens have a grandfather clock passed down to him from his father, who got the clock from Germany while in the military. They have a table in the breakfast room that has been passed down in his wife's family.

The home contains several items from former Mayor Charles A. DeVaney's estate, including furniture and pictures of Broad Street and Riverwalk Augusta.

Around the block

DOWNTOWN AUGUSTA BOUNDARIES: From the Savannah River to Wrightsboro Road and from Interstate 520 to Milledge Road

NUMBER OF RESIDENTS: 2,661

NUMBER OF HOUSEHOLDS: 1,540

NUMBER OF BUSINESSES: 895

OCCUPANCY RATE OF DOWNTOWN RENTALS: 96 percent

MAJOR EMPLOYERS: Medical College of Georgia, University Hospital, Augusta-Richmond County government

COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES: Medical College of Georgia, Paine College and Cambridge College

ATTRACTIONS: Augusta Canal Interpretive Center and Petersburg Boats, Augusta Museum of History, Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, Fort Discovery/National Science Center, Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History, Morris Museum of Art

Source: Downtown Development Authority of Augusta

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deekster
24
Points
deekster 02/07/10 - 11:10 am
0
0
Anyone who believes that each

Anyone who believes that each member of AT pays over $6,000 annually for the privilege of working free" needs to be committed to MCG. They are the ones would believe that a politician will spend $250,000 to get a $12000 a year position. The politicians, developers and contractors are "in bed together" and it ain't a "holy marriage". It is a business venture for their mutual wealth. The politicians use tax money to by land, pay for any studies and infrastructure. Developers and contractors build buildings. And they all get rich. They don't steal all of the money, No, even the "mafia" settles for "point on the dollars". Just enough to "wet their beaks". Five percent or ten percent of "billions of dollars" of construction has made fortunes in Augusta. The "skyline may change" but the "heart of Augusta" will stay the same. Progress could be great, but this is more of the same. If these, "heart of gold" individuals sincerely cared about Augusta's future they would have removed the railroad "switch yards" from the middle of town. You can't get into or out of town without a RR crossing. What if Augusta had a "Graniteville Disaster"? Not to mention that the 13th Street Bridge is the only access to downtown without a visit to a ghetto.

deekster
24
Points
deekster 02/07/10 - 11:13 am
0
0
You gotta love politicians.

You gotta love politicians. All they want to do is "serve". They want to "give of themselves". Selfless guardians of the citizenry. We have our own Reality Show everyday in Augusta.

deekster
24
Points
deekster 02/07/10 - 11:17 am
0
0
I only "know Matt" by the

I only "know Matt" by the "company he keeps". Not "judging", just looking at the "fruit bearing". He seems to side with the above mentioned crowd. I was told a long time ago by a very wise man that you if you mix a "preacher with a politician" you get a "nut". We have seen this come to pass.

deekster
24
Points
deekster 02/07/10 - 11:32 am
0
0
Matt owns two properties in

Matt owns two properties in Augusta. The one listed on Telfair purchased for 200,000 and valued at 288,000. He also owns a property in Goshen Plantation purchased for 49,000 and sold for 1000. Deed go back and forth with Tim Shellnut? Wonder why the market value went from 58,000 to zero? He does pay his taxes.

eachoneteachone
0
Points
eachoneteachone 02/07/10 - 11:51 am
0
0
deekster...Step up to the

deekster...Step up to the plate. Where do you live?

deekster
24
Points
deekster 02/07/10 - 12:08 pm
0
0
I live in Augusta. Or is

I live in Augusta. Or is Richmond County? Or is it Augusta-Richmond? The "pimple of the backside of a north bound jackass".

countyman
21299
Points
countyman 02/07/10 - 01:14 pm
0
0
Glad to see more people

Glad to see more people especially families moving downtown.

countyman
21299
Points
countyman 02/07/10 - 01:16 pm
0
0
I live downtown and love it

I live downtown and love it too. The Aitken's family lives in Olde Town. I was going to move to Olde Town at first. But the lofts on broad street were too nice. Also I'm closer to the action downtown.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 02/07/10 - 03:31 pm
0
0
Well Aitken is undoubtedly

Well Aitken is undoubtedly part of the downtown-Hill Machine.. Look at who donated to his campaign.. who ran it.. who was part of it. Now he was the better candidate in the run-off against Fennoy.. who was the candidate of another machine.. yet one that is dying. At least Aitken seems to be supportive of the CNPO. Butch Palmer was the true "Independent" candidate in the commission 1 race. But as usual.. most people in Augusta can't be bothered to vote.. even though they had an entire month to do so.. so I don't see a whole lot changing. The Machines count on low voter turnout. As long as apathy reigns in Augusta then trhe machine will continue to consolidate its power.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 02/08/10 - 12:15 am
0
0
durn... cocaine really does

durn... cocaine really does slim ya down! And all that time I was drinking diet cokes. Oh well... Hmm according the metro spirit, Matt Aitken looks like a muppet.. I can sorta see that.

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