Looking back, looking forward

  • Follow Editorials

"Today begins the New Year. Let each resolve now to make it the best in the history of the city we all love so dearly."

-- Editorial, The Augusta Chronicle, Jan. 1, 1908

Funny how some things never change, even after 100 years.

The spirit of that New Year's Day editorial from a century ago rings just as true today. Just look around at Augusta. It's poised to embark on a fresh year full of hope and opportunity -- and enough strong-willed, hard-working people have vowed to help make positive things happen.

The old editorial quoted above struck several chords that have a familiar ring now:

From 1908: "We need united, concerted effort in promoting the work of the Chamber of Commerce. This institution is capable of great good. Its plans in process of formation, or already secured, are encouraging, but each one who is a member of it -- and every citizen should be -- owes it to the city to work zealously in its behalf. If every present member even would throw himself into the cause, there is no reason to doubt that a surprising benefit would accrue to the city in a very short while."

In 2008: The Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce has evolved into a strong community advocate, and this year it has committed to turn its scrutiny toward arguably the most important issue to come before the General Assembly this term: the statewide water management plan.

The plan is in its final development phase, but there still are dozens of questions about how responsible and doable the plan really is. Water is the chosen beverage of economic opportunity, and the chamber will be at the front of the charge to protect our water supply from irresponsible interbasin transfers that would take Augusta's precious resource to slake the thirst of drought-parched Atlanta.

From 1908: "We need an auditorium. The agitation for this has completely died down and there is no immediate hope of its resurrection, but it is a pity nonetheless, and 1908 has it on the debit side of the ledger. Whether it will be transferred to the credit side this year is not to be said, but we can at least hope so."

In 2008: We've needed a new "auditorium" for a while, and the civic center complex we have now is no great shakes. Complaints against it have mounted to the point that Richmond County's legislative delegation plans on investigating the center's operations.

A bright spot for this year, though, is the Trade, Exhibition and Event center, which could begin construction in 2008. And it comes with a bonus -- when the Augusta Commission voted last year to move forward with the TEE center, it also enacted a hotel tax to go into effect this year that will go toward revitalizing historic, inner-city neighborhoods, to the tune of $37.5 million.

From 1908: "We need a Carnegie library. The outlook for this is not as encouraging as for the city hall, but it is hoped that the citizens will get together in a united effort to secure this library, or another equally as good, and stock it with books that will be suitable for all classes. The situation under which Augusta labors in this regard is not creditable and the sooner this work is inaugurated the better."

In 2008: Two-dozen Georgia cities got Carnegie libraries, but not Augusta. Apparently supporters couldn't overcome the strong anti-Andrew Carnegie sentiment from people who chafed at the idea of taking charity from a millionaire who lived up north.

But today, residents are getting a library that the city deserves. Construction is expected to begin on the new main branch of the Augusta Public Library this year, with the ground-breaking for the 90,000-square-foot facility planned for this summer.

From 1908: "(W)e need civic pride. We need more boosters and fewer knockers. If no other good were accomplished in 1908 and knocking were eliminated the year would be memorable on that account alone. There is so much to be proud of in Augusta, so much that is pregnant with increased prosperity, such vast possibilities, that it is a shame that some go around endeavoring to find flaws to accentuate their own miserable pettishness. It is notable that the persons who are loudest in running down the city are those who do least toward building it up."

In 2008: Sound familiar? Change the date in the above paragraph, and it would match up perfectly with past roils within the Augusta Commission.

But look at the progress the commission made in 2007. They actually started forming a track record of consensus and common sense. The mayor and commissioners rendered sound decisions that sent a message -- that the dysfunctional brand of obstructionist politics no longer will pollute this city. Now we have three newly elected commissioners who have committed to maintaining the government's positive momentum in 2008.

There truly are "such vast possibilities" lying before Augusta this year. The improving government. The implementation of a downtown Business Improvement District designed to enhance public safety and beautification. The burst of economic development. The steady swell in civic pride.

This is an exciting time to be a resident of the CSRA -- with each person having something to contribute to make Augusta even better.

To urge all of us toward that end, we borrow one more time from the words of our 1908 predecessor on this page, Chronicle Editor Thomas W. Loyless:

"To accomplish much for Augusta a beginning must be made some time in the year, and the earlier the better. Start with January One, then not a day will be lost unnecessarily."

Comments (12) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
HTN007
19
Points
HTN007 01/01/08 - 04:45 am
0
0
"Funny how some things never

"Funny how some things never change, even after 100 years"......and why is it that this editorial has hit the nail DIRECTLY on top of the head? Answer - Augusta, unlike almost any other city in the country, is still smitten with post civil war reconstruction type racial politics that, to this very day, impede the progress needed for entry into the 3rd millenium. Put another way, when people ask me what I can tell them that is best about Augusta, I always reply........."if you like Augusta, you can relax in knowing it will NEVER change....."what you see is what you get!". And, on this very same day in 2108 the editorial page of this newspaper will read the same! The only thing that will be different is the fact that I will not be around to point all of this out!

catfish20
325
Points
catfish20 01/01/08 - 08:16 am
0
0
Hypertension...have your

Hypertension...have your stroke somewhere else...bet the medical care you would receive elsewhere wouldn't be as good as you would find in Augusta. For 5 generations my family has lived and worked in Augusta. During this time, we have experienced the best of times and the worst of times. However, Augusta has an extremely bright future and my family will be there to support the mayor and the commission in any way possible. I would encourage everyone else to get on board and move the city forward.

justthefacts
33871
Points
justthefacts 01/01/08 - 11:34 am
0
0
HyperT, why don't you just

HyperT, why don't you just LEAVE??? Big country, lots of places to live where people are more enlightened. Go there and leave the rest of us to wallow in our sameness.

dani
13
Points
dani 01/01/08 - 11:44 am
0
0
Hyper..We will miss you not

Hyper..We will miss you not being here to show us the way.

Riverman1
118316
Points
Riverman1 01/01/08 - 12:22 pm
0
0
There are those who revel in

There are those who revel in a certain segment of Augusta, believing it is a world class city with friends coming from all over the world. There are others who hang around bingo games, complaining about how much the laundry mat cost to wash their clothes.

critter
2
Points
critter 01/01/08 - 12:58 pm
0
0
I think Hypertension's right.

I think Hypertension's right. I grew up here, moved away for many years, came back, and it was like turning on a soap opera five years later - catch right back up in about 2 days. Sorry, folks, if you think Augusta's a world-class city with an eye to the future, you've probably never lived anywhere else. I am heartened by the recent actions of the council, but they're kinda like the Falcons - look good for a while, then inevitably drop the ball.

patriciathomas
44
Points
patriciathomas 01/01/08 - 04:37 pm
0
0
Unfortunately, you're right

Unfortunately, you're right critter. For every person interested in improving our city, there's an equal and opposite one interested in control over progress. In between are a lot of unconcerned and government maintained citizens that seem to contribute nothing positive. The city charter is a huge roadblock that the commissioners don't seem willing to address. A difficult situation that will be solved only by continuous goal oriented effort. With the current attitude, this will not be a quick solution. Some positive action by the commission would go a long way toward getting residents behind them.

dani
13
Points
dani 01/01/08 - 06:34 pm
0
0
critter I know that Augusta

critter I know that Augusta is not a world-class city. I have long said that if I could do it over my children would not be raised here. But it is my home and I can but hope that some progress can be made. Education is the key. We are so far behind in education that it over- shadows everything else.

Riverman1
118316
Points
Riverman1 01/01/08 - 08:18 pm
0
0
Augusta is the hub of the

Augusta is the hub of the CSRA and it's cited in one national publication after another as a great place to live and retire. Some aren't satisfied unless they are trying to prove how miserable everyone is even though most of us are quite happy.

twilahzone
0
Points
twilahzone 01/01/08 - 09:13 pm
0
0
For those of you who think

For those of you who think Augusta is the best place to live-- it is. .. to a degree. Great place to retire, great place to raise kids, great place to buy a home. That is it. However, I am not ready for the retirement home, all but one of my kids are now grown, and I do visit other cities that I have thought about becoming my new home. What I am looking for is cultural diversity. .. and not just by race. I am sick of everything being black versus white, rich versus poor. Pride can be a terrible thing sometimes. If you fall somewhere in the middle where you actually respect people regardless of race, class---you stand out as a FREAK. If you walk into a venue where mostly whites/mostly blacks/mostly preppies meet to socialize---you are stared at like some sort of circus freak---and this is 2008! I don't care how much money you have---what good does it do for me????? I do get out of the Augusta area every chance I can--because I have to maintain my social sanity. I have to see how others live--and I will report that some places are worse than Augusta---and yes, other cities are better.

Little Lamb
55722
Points
Little Lamb 01/01/08 - 09:20 pm
0
0
Love your screenname,

Love your screenname, TwilahZone. I've been watching the Twilight Zone marathon on and off today on Sci Fi channel. Sometimes Augusta fits into the Twilight Zone framework.

Riverman1
118316
Points
Riverman1 01/01/08 - 10:17 pm
0
0
Twilazone, look inward if you

Twilazone, look inward if you have problems getting along. To lay an inability to get along so strong that it causes you to leave town every chance you get is being superficial. Searching for the truth lies in depth not everyone is willing to look for in the CSRA.

Back to Top
loading...
Search Augusta jobs