A needed road trip

Augusta’s downtown Riverwalk draws a lot of attention – from everyone, it seems, except the city tasked with maintaining it.

Hopefully, that’s about to change.

Just over a month since the milestone May 3 beating of a couple there, Augusta commissioners Monday toured the
multilevel strolling place along the Savannah to see what condition it was in.

They noticed lights out, muddy sidewalks, poorly maintained landscaping and other signs of neglect of the city’s third-most-popular tourist attraction.

It may be the only thing that busy convention-goers see for themselves, if they take a walk from events at the convention center and adjacent hotels attached to the Riverwalk.

The city can, and must, do better.

Landscaping and lighting are only the start of the changes that need to be made on the Riverwalk and on much of the riverfront downtown. We’ll address the bigger picture in an upcoming editorial.

For the moment, it’s encouraging to see the Augusta Commission leave its chambers and take a foot tour on a rainy day to see what’s going on for themselves.

Individually, commissioners no doubt get out a lot. Group field trips have been few and far between. It’s good for them, and good for the city, to get out and see things for themselves, together.

The city budget had to be cut back in recent years, and that affected maintenance. But a premium must be put on keeping up the Riverwalk and making it safer. To do anything else, while inviting visitors to enjoy themselves there, would be the height of negligence.

We hope this is just the start of frequent outings by the Augusta Commission. Attending meeting after indoor meeting, it’s easy to get lost in the minutia of government, and  perhaps lose sight of the big picture. And sometimes the big picture is best seen through a crack in a sidewalk or in the darkness put out by a broken streetlight.

Going forward, as a group the Augusta Commission will undoubtedly be more focused on conditions at the Riverwalk after their movable meeting there Monday. And that’s all to the good.

They should take their act on the road more often.

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