Three inmate crews and a city bush hog spent two days this week clearing the former Georgia Golf Hall of Fame property – just in time for the Masters Tournament – but there’s still more work to be done.
“The outside still needs to be cleaned a little bit,” Augusta Engineering Director Abie Ladson said. “If time permits, we’ll get the parts that you cannot see.”
Augusta doesn’t own the lush, 16-acre riverfront botanical garden once intended to house the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame but obtains permission to enter its serpentine brick walls at least once a year, to cut grass and other overgrowth visible from the street.
City Administrator Fred Russell said despite the tract’s uncertain future – it has remained property of the state properties commission since funds to operate it ran out in 2007 – its visible areas need to be cleaned in case Masters visitors venture downtown.
The prison crews working at the site reside at Richmond County Correctional Institute, a medium-security prison operated by the city of Augusta that houses about 150 male state prisoners.
The Georgia Board of Regents voted March 13 to recommend that the former golf hall be transferred from the state to the Regents for use by Georgia Health Sciences University by way of House Resolution 1376.
As of today, however, there was no legislation pending authorizing the transfer.
City, GHSU, Augusta State University and other officials have scheduled a meeting this afternoon with Jacoby Development, local developers and officials with Ripken Baseball to discuss the site’s potential uses, including as a multipurpose stadium for the Augusta GreenJackets minor league baseball team.