Central gets new trees

Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Fredrick Fulton (front) and Anthony Jones plant a tree along Central Avenue.

George Barrett smiles as crews from Augusta Trees and Parks pile clumps of dirt over the roots of the 5-year-old red oak that he grew from a seed.


Mr. Barrett, owner Barrett Tree Co., took the sapling from his nursery Tuesday and replanted it in the median of busy Central Avenue at the behest of the Summerville Neighborhood Association.

He hopes, as many in the neighborhood association do, that it will grow tall and strong - standing as a testament to what he calls Augusta's "urban forests."

"They are a part of the urban infrastructure," Mr. Barrett said. "The gas goes out, you know it; the water, you know it; but people don't realize they're losing the trees until it's hot one summer and they don't have any shade."

More than 50 new oaks and maples will be planted in the median along Central Avenue to replace those that have succumbed to disease, drought or the occasional bad drivers. The original oaks were put there in 1950 by the Augusta Junior Women's Club as memorials to the pilots who trained for World War I at Fort Hancock and World War II at Daniel Field. A marker to the pilots rests in the median near the Monte Sano Avenue intersection.

Stewart Flanagin, the president of the Summerville Neighborhood Association, said the new oaks will honor the club's original intentions and, the club hopes, usher in much wider improvements to the middle of Central Avenue.

"This is the first stage, hopefully, in making this street really what it ought to look like," Mr. Flanagin said.

New street lights and historical markers are among the things the neighborhood association wants to add to the median. A sidewalk through the area and a fountain at the corner of Central Avenue and Monte Sano are also possibilities, he said.

But it's not just pretty scenery and memorials that make the median so important. Thirty years ago, the Summerville Neighborhood Association formed specifically to prevent the median's removal by the Georgia Department of Transportation, and Mr. Flanigan said it has a special place in the hearts of all Summerville residents.

"This is just something that needs to be done," he said. "We are always trying to do something to enhance the neighborhood."

The project was funded with the proceeds from last year's Annual Summerville Tour of Homes. Other projects would depend on grants and donations, he said.

Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3339 or adam.folk@augustachronicle.com.


The Summerville Neighborhood Association hopes to secure grants for Central Avenue to install new traffic lights, historical markers, a sidewalk and a fountain in the median, according Steve Flanagin, the president of the association.