Businessman Barry Storey wants to continue efforts to beautify the Garden City by landscaping the first major road visitors see after landing at Augusta Regional Airport.
A 2.1-mile stretch of Doug Barnard Parkway between the airport entrance and Bobby Jones Expressway needs trees, flowers and grass to replace weeds and concrete, Storey said.
Storey, of Augusta-based retail mall owner Hull Storey Gibson Companies, LLC, presented his concept last week to the Augusta Aviation Commission. He asked the airport to fund up to $250,000 of the beautification project with a match from the city.
The estimated cost of the project was not discussed as not to spoil the bidding process, Storey said. If the cost exceeds the combined funds from the airport and city, private money will be raised.
Storey has led efforts to landscape other major arteries in Augusta that influence first impressions of visitors. He began the initiative by investing his own money into medians on Wheeler Road near his business offices. Then, he sought public-private partnerships to landscape Alexander Drive and St. Sebastian Way.
Maintenance of Doug Barnard Parkway, a state route, was recently deeded to the city by Georgia Department of Transportation. Storey said the Augusta utilities department is needed to bring irrigation to the medians, as they have done for the previous projects.
Storey said the project is ready to go out to bid so landscaping can be completed before Masters Week. The proposal includes weekly landscape maintenance.
“There should never be a week when we go out there and see weeds,” Storey said. “It should be nipped and tucked and edged and blown and picked up and a sight to behold for people approaching our airport and people leaving our airport.”
Augusta Regional Executive Director Gary LeTellier said up to $250,000 will be taken from a restricted fund at the airport. Then, the annual budget will include $30,000 for maintaining the landscaping.