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Augusta officials tour riverwalk issues firsthand

Augusta Commission members tour riverwalk

Monday, June 10, 2013 1:22 PM
Last updated Tuesday, June 11, 2013 5:11 AM
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City officials got a firsthand look Monday at maintenance and safety issues along Riverwalk Augusta, what the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau said is the city’s third-most-popular tourist attraction.

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From left, Mayor Deke Copenhaver and Commissioners Corey Johnson, Alvin Mason and Mary Davis walk along the Augusta Riverwalk Monday morning June 10, 2013.    Michael Holahan / Staff  MICHAEL HOLAHAN
MICHAEL HOLAHAN
From left, Mayor Deke Copenhaver and Commissioners Corey Johnson, Alvin Mason and Mary Davis walk along the Augusta Riverwalk Monday morning June 10, 2013. Michael Holahan / Staff

During a brief break in morning rainstorms, the Augusta Commission, mayor and some city staffers examined muddy sidewalks, overgrown landscaping and lighting still not repaired since the late-night beating and robbery of two tourists on May 3.

Mayor Pro Tem Corey Johnson, who arranged the walking tour, urged the group to take note of any issues they saw while staffers made a list.

“We want people to see and feel comfortable on the riverwalk,” Johnson said, pointing out overgrown and poorly placed decorative plants that obscure nighttime visibility. Visitors “don’t feel that the visual transparency is there,” he said.

Johnson said the tour will allow staffers to address “low-hanging fruit” while helping the body develop concepts for further improvement at riverwalk using, he hopes, future special purpose local option sales tax revenue.

“You see the bulb up top there, but there’s nothing in the center there,” said Commissioner Alvin Mason. Several of the decorative lampposts had broken glass or bulbs. On May 3, more than 30 of the lights were out.

“It’s a good thing that we’re raising awareness of what goes on downtown,” Commissioner Donnie Smith said. “(Riverwalk) is something that we need to maintain,” he said.

That might be possible with revenues generated by increased bookings at the riverwalk amphitheater, Smith said. A group led by businessman Brad Usry is seeking to take on promotions at the amphitheater, which currently has no one marketing it, he said.
Commissioner Mary Davis said the tour would help the city address pressing issues such as lighting and landscaping maintenance.
“You’ve got to put things at the forefront, and we haven’t,” she said.

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Little Lamb
46021
Points
Little Lamb 06/10/13 - 01:36 pm
12
2
No One

So no one is marketing the Jessye Norman Amphitheatre. Why am I not surprised? Fred Russell likes only to build things — not maintain them nor operate them. He doesn't worry about the details.

Pops
8462
Points
Pops 06/10/13 - 02:27 pm
10
1
These guys are pathetic

“You see the bulb up top there, but there’s nothing in the center there,” noted Commissioner Alvin Mason. Several of the decorative lampposts had broken glass or bulbs. On May 3, more than 30 of the lights were out.

Acting like they really are concerned. Nothing but lip service and photo-op.

Discussionstarter
495
Points
Discussionstarter 06/10/13 - 02:34 pm
9
1
It has been several weeks since the beating of the Edgefield

And... it takes the commissioners this long to go down there and see what disrepair Riverwalk is in. This did not happen overnight. This is due to total neglect by city administration. Yes... accountability starts at the top. The greatest asset we have and it is lowest on our priorities. Deke... wake up; you could have spearheaded this yourself. Once again, another disappointment.

badmoon426
1173
Points
badmoon426 06/10/13 - 03:09 pm
8
1
Little Lamb...

...after being a passive reader of the comments to Augusta Chronicle stories as well as seeing the tired antics of the under qualified Fred Russell.

My question is why does he (Fred Russell) still have a job when he has two assistants paid almost as him and based on his shoddy work on the TEE Center and its parking deck.

corgimom
32414
Points
corgimom 06/10/13 - 04:44 pm
9
4
Badmoon- because he acts in

Badmoon- because he acts in the best interest of the rich white people that own Downtown property, #1 being Billy Morris. They want him to stay.

If Charlotte NC can fire their city manager and can function while they look for a new one, why can't Augusta?

corgimom
32414
Points
corgimom 06/10/13 - 04:50 pm
5
5
The problems with Riverwalk

The problems with Riverwalk have been there for years, and yes, there have been robberies there for years. I quit going there years ago when I saw that it was infested with cockroaches- it will forever be the Roach Walk to me. The only reason why this is being addressed is because the perps were black and the victims were white. I'm guessing that the Commissioners have finally figured out that one way or another, they are going to be on the hook for Mr. Spires' medical care- and I'm also guessing that if Mr. Spires' medical care hasn't exceeded $1,000,000, it will pretty soon, not to mention that he will probably have some form of long-term effects that will impact him for years, if not the rest of his life.

Jake
32536
Points
Jake 06/10/13 - 05:39 pm
15
0
Strolling

It is a good thing that they decided to take a nice stroll on Riverwalk in broad daylight. Now let them go back at night and see what it looks like.

seenitB4
87180
Points
seenitB4 06/10/13 - 05:40 pm
6
1
True true true

they are going to be on the hook for Mr. Spires' medical care-

mc
141
Points
mc 06/10/13 - 05:56 pm
7
1
Well, they finally see the

Well, they finally see the reason I haven't been going there for many years. There is too much ground cover. Not enough lighting. The same goes for Broad St. Too many places for someone to hide and attack. AC ran some photos a few years ago of Broad St. back in the sixties at Christmas time. It was nice, open spaces. Not tree cover everywhere and low lighting. And no sunken in parking, to hide in. I've lived here all my life, and went shopping with my mom ad grandmother every Saturday on Broad St.. Felt real safe back then. Nice and open. Now, you can't see the front of the buildings in some places. It's a shame. Could be a lovely place again.

CobaltGeorge
158748
Points
CobaltGeorge 06/10/13 - 05:57 pm
7
1
I Believe

that a better view and evaluation of the Riverwalk tour should have be done at 2am.

GnipGnop
12234
Points
GnipGnop 06/10/13 - 06:43 pm
8
1
They should hire countyman...

You won't find a more dedicated PR man...except maybe Deke.

Riverman1
83907
Points
Riverman1 06/10/13 - 07:36 pm
3
2
I never see more than 2-3

I never see more than 2-3 people down there. It sure isn't crowded in these photos. But about the city getting sued for the attacks down there, you can't sue a city because someone commits criminal activity in the city.

IAmISaid
206
Points
IAmISaid 06/10/13 - 07:53 pm
7
2
This is why we need to
Unpublished

This is why we need to encourage open carry everywhere it is legal to do so - and the Riverwalk is one of those places.

showboat
336
Points
showboat 06/10/13 - 08:21 pm
0
0
waste of time and money they
Unpublished

waste of time and money they are not going to one dang thing!!!!!!!

countyman
20120
Points
countyman 06/10/13 - 08:57 pm
5
10
Riverwalk

The Candlelight Jazz series and Saturday Market are weekly events held on the Riverwalk... Both events attract tons of people all the time.. This was the first crime at the Riverwalk in over one year. People were complaining how the commissioners need to do something, and their still not satisfied.. Positive facts is not PR, but the actual truth.

Fayette
89
Points
Fayette 06/10/13 - 08:59 pm
9
1
Total lack of leadership

Where were they(the commission ) when all the maintenance began showing up and where was the head of the department that is to oversee Riverwalk. All not doing their job---in my opinion.

GnipGnop
12234
Points
GnipGnop 06/10/13 - 09:11 pm
8
1
Oh wow...they walked down the riverwalk!!

Stop the presses!!!! Let's see them walk down gordon highway at tubman home road after dark...then I will be impressed. Countyman if you don't want the Augusta PR job I hear Five Guy's is hiring around here....one day

dstewartsr
20389
Points
dstewartsr 06/10/13 - 09:15 pm
4
3
Open carry at riverwalk?

Good luck with that. If one of Sheriff Grateful Mother's minions were to actually go by the Riverwalk (probably by accident or lost) and saw someone not dressed in gang colours they would arrest them, even if they had a permit (permit holders don't have records; it's safe to screw with them- gangbangers- walk on) for being down there to buy drugs. Or for not rolling their window down.

triscuit
3085
Points
triscuit 06/10/13 - 10:09 pm
2
1
The city should not have to

The city should not have to pay those medical bills. No different than being mugged anywhere. A bad thing to say but could have happened anywhere.

Darby
25650
Points
Darby 06/10/13 - 10:58 pm
3
2
I'm sensing some bad

vibes here.....

jddunn
9
Points
jddunn 06/10/13 - 11:20 pm
7
1
idiots for department heads

One of the biggest reasons for the maintenance issues at Riverwalk are the department heads will not do their jobs properly. These same department heads are those that were given big fat raises that everyone raised heck about a year ago. These same leaders will not do simple paperwork for HR to get staff hired to get these maintenance jobs done. One man in a 4 man department can only do so much in one day! Yes, there is a department now that is only staffed by the operations manager now because of poor upper management.

ragingbull
945
Points
ragingbull 06/11/13 - 12:03 am
6
1
I was smoking my peace pipe

I was smoking my peace pipe as they walked by, and I swore I heard one of them say: "I ain't seen nobody with a bat."

TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 06/11/13 - 06:31 am
0
0
I'm with one of the other
Unpublished

I'm with one of the other posters. They need to go back to Riverwalk at night. In pairs... have each one walk the length and back and see how safe they feel. On a different note, some similar parks I've been to have police call stations throughout the park. There should also be a visible police presence out there.

seenitB4
87180
Points
seenitB4 06/11/13 - 07:37 am
2
3
Just a durn minute

Why can't you sue

Some sue if they fall in a pithole....some sue if they get hit crossing a street....on & on & on...
The 2 victims on Riverwalk were NOT told of dangers on that walk...just the beauty & wonderful view & the greatness of outdoors & blah blah blah......FALSE advertising in my book & put me on a jury & his medical BILLS WOULD GET PAID BY THE DANG CITY...

I say a good lawyer needs to step up & give his services to this man...still in the hospital btw.....if your taxes can pay for surgery for overweight ....you dang sure should pay for this man.

Funny how some think getting hit crossing the street would pay off (something you can avoid btw) BUT something you can't help...like getting your head bashed in by a jerk...naahhhhh...

Get a jury trial...& see.

soapy_725
43678
Points
soapy_725 06/11/13 - 08:13 am
0
0
The third most popular tourist attraction in ARC???
Unpublished

What could possible be numbers one and two? Number one would most likely be the ANGC. However it is open for only one week a year. Number two must be either Deke's Office or countyman's domicile.

No, its the "art district" of the CBD that is Number Two. LOL LOL

From the latest news out at Bush Field, the airport is Number Two.

Maybe countyman can provide a list of his Top Ten ARC Tourist Attractions.

...point to ponder
755
Points
...point to ponder 06/11/13 - 08:31 am
5
1
Officials tour Riverealk...

And take heads out of the sand!

The issues have been known for years.

These elected officials have to take a tour!

Do they not already know our Riverwalk?

Obviously not and they should be ashamed of our Riverwalk's condition and themselves for allowing the condition to get this bad.

Someone at the top is already the responsible party. For letting things get this bad.....

They will struggle to find funds to make the needed improvements unless they tie it into a project tied to MCG (GRU ) or if they each get a campaign contribution or tickets to a baseball game.

This walking tour is evidence of a dysfunctional, disconnected county government.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 06/11/13 - 09:19 am
0
0
I'd find it
Unpublished

more credible if one or two commisioners walked the Riverwalk at 10 p.m., unguarded.

Brad Owens
4429
Points
Brad Owens 06/11/13 - 09:49 am
5
1
More talk but this time with a walk...

Deke has never made a public statement about any of the violence, yet here he is at the front of the photo op looking like he's doing something.

Pathetic.

We need actions not words. Was the Sheriff invited?

rebellious
20780
Points
rebellious 06/11/13 - 09:50 am
2
2
Time better spent

Hammering on the Corp of Engineers to remove the Levee and have a riverfront, like Chattanooga. No reason whatsoever for that obstructing mound to exist. It does nothing but cloak the beauty of the Savannah and impede the true development of a riverfront park.

jrsc429
381
Points
jrsc429 06/11/13 - 10:41 am
4
0
Nice of them to tour River

Nice of them to tour River Walk during the daylight hours. Let's be more realistic, and take the tour on a Friday after 10:00 pm.

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