“Twice a month, we have restored our Sunday hours due to heavy traffic on Saturday night,” said Margaret Woodard, the executive director of the Downtown Development Authority of Augusta. “That helps that when property owners come to work on Monday morning, it’s clean.”
Woodard officially reported the change at the board’s monthly meeting Thursday.
The initiative is coming up for renewal this year. It was established four years ago as a service to be funded by the Business Improvement District, a tax district covering roughly 25 blocks bound by Reynolds and Greene streets from Eighth to 13th streets and a few facing parcels.
The district contract states that the cleanup initiative would offer sidewalk cleaning, landscape maintenance, graffiti and panhandler removal, night safety patrol and police weekend night patrol.
At the board meeting, Woodard said she has adjusted the cleanup workers’ hours for First Friday to aid the sheriff’s office. There will now be three workers during First Friday, who will start cleaning at 9 p.m., she said.
In addition, the initiative workers will tackle the area’s graffiti problem.
“We are removing graffiti for free,” Woodard said, “We’ve always removed graffiti from public property. We’ve had a real rush on graffiti here again lately.”
She said the development authority will have a petition drive asking property owners to sign a form allowing the cleanup workers to remove graffiti. The authority has already received permission from several property owners, and cleanup workers have removed 17 graffiti hits in the past few weeks, she said.
The DDA has mailed annual reports and surveys to downtown property owners asking them to grade the Business Improvement District.
“We’ve gotten about 25 surveys back,” Woodard said. “The majority of the surveys have been very positive.”