Community honors ex-mayor's legacy

Leadership Augusta alumni unveiled a memorial plaque Monday honoring former Mayor Charles A. DeVaney for his contributions to the city.

"Charles DeVaney loved this community, and he dedicated himself to making it the best place it could be," said Lee Ann Caldwell, Leadership Augusta alumna and director, in ceremonies at the Augusta Common.

Mr. DeVaney, who died in January 2007, was mayor of Augusta from 1984 until the city and county consolidated in 1996. He died unexpectedly of cardiac complications .

"He was a leader in this community," Dr. Caldwell said. "Under his leadership Riverwalk was implemented. He worked for downtown revitalization, Artists Row, rescues for the Old Government House and the Woodrow Wilson boyhood home, landscaping, lighting and other beautification projects. He encouraged others in restorations of historically and architecturally significant buildings like the Cotton Exchange building, the Partridge Inn."

Mr. DeVaney's cousin, Rick Toole, also spoke on behalf of the family.

Dr. Joyce Jones, the vice president of Student Services at Augusta State University, gave the invocation, and Ted Hussey, the chairman of the DeVaney Memorial Committee, made closing remarks before he and Mayor Deke Copenhaver unveiled the bronze plaque.

"When I was elected to lead this project to erect a memorial to Charles, I did not anticipate a 20-month journey, a venture in persistence, an education in the workings of the Augusta government," Mr. Hussey said.

Leadership Augusta initially asked to place the plaque on Riverwalk honoring Mr. DeVaney for his efforts there, but some Augusta commissioners resisted, saying former Mayor Ed McIntyre initiated the Riverwalk project.