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Masters Week reacquaints residents with what makes Augusta special

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Two things happen in Augusta during the first full week of April.

If you’re a visitor, you’re likely here for the first thing – the Masters Tournament.

The second thing occurs among year-round residents. Their memories are jogged. They’re reminded of what a special city Augusta is.

See, for the other 51 weeks a year, we’re almost exactly like every visitor’s hometown. We gripe about taxes. We grumble about our public officials. Crime. Grime. There’s too much of this. There’s not enough of that. We too often forget about Augusta’s many good points.

We feel no need to apologize for pointing them out, either. Editorial writers do a fine job of noting shortcomings as well – and it’s no less truthful to take note of the positive.

It just happens that during this first full week in April, Augustans get a refresher on why we choose to live here for the other 51.

When you’re expecting visitors to your house, what do you do? You tidy up the place. You bring out your best china. When your guests arrive, you stay cheery and upbeat.

Augusta is no different.

And Augusta is special.

If you’ve been here before, we’re glad you’re back. If you are new to Georgia’s second-largest city, you couldn’t have picked a better time to visit.

We hope you will take some time during your visit to explore our city. You’ve probably already noticed that, for a metro area that exceeds a half-million people, it can be quite easy to get around.

That is, if you’re clear of the Masters traffic.

Venture past our main thoroughfares and you’ll find a wide variety of neighborhoods, from modest bungalows and typical single-family homes all the way up to multimillion-dollar antebellum mansions and riverfront estates.

It may surprise you to know just how far your housing dollar goes here. The Augusta metro has historically ranked high in the National Association of Realtors’ most affordable markets. Our median home price is about $150,000. Augusta also is No. 2 on this year’s Apartment Guide “Top 10 Most Budget-Friendly Metros” list.

If it’s arts and culture you crave, head downtown and you’ll find the heart of the city’s burgeoning entertainment district, site of major annual events such as the annual Arts in the Heart and Westobou festivals, as well as regular performances by the world-class Symphony Orchestra Augusta.

The entrepreneurial spirit is thriving in many of the historic storefronts along Broad Street that have been converted into trendy bars, restaurants and shops. WalletHub recently named Augusta No. 3 on its 2014 “Best Cities to Start a Business” list.

And while you’re downtown, pop into the Augusta Museum of History, where you can learn more about the founding of Georgia’s second-oldest city as well as see more contemporary historical exhibits. Did we mention legendary soul singer James Brown called Augusta home?

Venture to south Augusta and experience the rustic beauty of Phinizy Swamp Nature Park, an 1,100-acre woodlands and wetlands preserve. On your way there you’ll pass by some of the city’s most prominent corporate citizens, including Starbucks, Kellogg’s, E-Z-GO and a host of diversified chemical and manufacturing companies. The city’s industry-friendly attributes have garnered it regular mention in
Site Selection magazine as a top economic development destination.

Take a bridge across the Savannah River and you’ll find yourself in North Augusta, “South Carolina’s Riverfront.” Keep heading east and you’ll find yourself in historic Aiken, nationally known for its equestrian community and annual Aiken Steeplechase event. The city is a frequent placeholder on numerous “best places to retire” listings.

If it’s water recreation you’re after, take Washington Road past the growing bedroom communities of Columbia County to find Thurmond Lake, one of the largest manmade lakes east of the Mississippi River whose 1,200-mile shoreline is larger than the Eastern seaboard.

For less leisurely water fun, you might want to come back in July for the Augusta Southern Nationals, the “World’s Richest Drag Boat Race,” or in September, when the country’s largest half-triathlon, the Intermedix Ironman 70.3, returns to Augusta.

We hope you have a safe visit, but if you happen to fall ill or injured, you can rest assured you will be in some of the most
capable medical care in the nation. The Augusta metro area enjoys one of the highest physician-per-capita populations in America, thanks to 11 full-service and specialty hospitals on the city’s Georgia side alone.

The region’s largest health care cluster, the downtown medical district, is home to the state’s second-largest hospital, University Health Care System, as well as the Charlie Norwood VA Hospital and the Georgia Regents Health System, the latter being an academic health center affiliated with the state’s only public medical research university.

Augusta’s also proud of its potential. At Fort Gordon, one of the country’s largest U.S. Army installations, preparations are in high gear to groom the fort as the new headquarters of the U.S. Army Cyber Command.

With cyberspace as a potential 21st-century battleground, Fort Gordon – already headquarters the U.S. Signal Corps – gains new strategic importance to national security. And that new mission is going to bring thousands of new people to the Augusta area.

Another area ripe with potential contains the impressive 19th-century Gothic Revival mill buildings near downtown. Workers there spun thread and cloth for more than a century.

Now, the unused Sibley and King textile mills are being eyed for an extraordinary proposed expansion of Georgia Regents University into academic space and student housing near the historic Augusta Canal – the nation’s only industrial power canal that’s still in use.

Many visitors are learning about these fascinating aspects of our area for the first time.

As residents, let’s try not to forget.

Comments (17) Add comment
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deestafford
24066
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deestafford 04/05/14 - 11:53 pm
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ACES, You put the bloom on the rose...

ACES, You put the bloom on the rose very well and hopefully jarred many of the negative nannies to a state where they can appreciate how good we have it here--even though we bi**ch and moan a lot. Overall, the CSRA is a very good place to live. Hopefully, we can improve on the things we know are wrong and capitalize on the ones that are good.

Butterman
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Butterman 04/06/14 - 03:26 am
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Mills

Despite how this editorial sounds, it's worth noting that GRU and The GA Board of Regents has so far expressed zero interest in the mills for university expansion. This is nothing but another pie in the sky pet project being hyped by Mayor Deke and Matt Kwatinetz. Deke even slipped $5.5 million into the SPLOST 7 package for this mystery project where so far no potential tenants have expressed any interest.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 04/06/14 - 06:16 am
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I Get It!!!

This is Augusta, Georgia, home to the world’s greatest sporting event. We are extraordinary with chartered planes flying in from all over to enjoy our beautiful event, homes and weather. The world is Augusta this week.

I experienced living in more than a few cities during my military time and I can assure you our neighborhoods are spectacular and better than 99 percent of the neighborhoods in the country. When I left the military my skill made it possible for me to go anywhere in the country and I chose Augusta. I was stationed in Washington, DC at the time and discussed with two other coworkers who were also getting ready to leave the military where they would move. I explained the attributes of Augusta and after visits, they both agreed and began their civilian careers here.

I recently bought a house on the fairway in a fantastic community in the suburbs on one of the best public golf courses in the state and it gives me that new house, exciting feel. If you want to live life to the fullest at a modest cost come join this poor boy drinking a beer on his deck in early April, watching butterflies disappear into the azalea colors, as golfers tee off on the undulating green course. My God I am lucky enough to live in Augusta, Georgia.

nocnoc
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nocnoc 04/06/14 - 07:09 am
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It is Masters spin week

Otherwise I'd flip over pretty side of the articles finely spun pluses.

corgimom
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corgimom 04/06/14 - 08:26 am
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Butterman, love your posts.

Butterman, love your posts.

iaaffg
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iaaffg 04/06/14 - 08:46 am
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'modest bungalows'? that's a

'modest bungalows'? that's a good one. at no other time but master's week would the shotgun shanties in augusta be called a 'modest bungalow'. i am sure none of the master's visitors who can afford to take the time off, come here to either rent a house for a week or stay in a hotel, with all the accompanying expenses, care to go look at the 'modest bungalows'.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 04/06/14 - 08:58 am
6
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Thank you Augusta Chronicle

"We feel no need to apologize for pointing them out, either. Editorial writers do a fine job of noting shortcomings as well – and it’s no less truthful to take note of the positive."

PERFECT SUMMATION

justthefacts
20487
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justthefacts 04/06/14 - 09:28 am
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Butterman

Can you give it a rest.............just for a couple days? Then you can resume singing your theme song. "Gray Skies, nothing but gray skies, heading my way..................

harley_52
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harley_52 04/06/14 - 09:33 am
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" My God I am lucky enough to live in Augusta, Georgia."

True. That's what I've been telling you for years..

And how convenient it is that you can make such a proclamation while butterman is here to handle the task of spewing all the negativity and derision of the town you now lavish with praise.

It's great having an evil twin around, isn't it?

seenitB4
81891
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seenitB4 04/06/14 - 09:44 am
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Dang

I hope yall don't find out who my evil twin is...it might be closer than you think..:-(

justthefacts
20487
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justthefacts 04/06/14 - 10:02 am
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evil-seenit

Nope, the two words are incompatible.

seenitB4
81891
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seenitB4 04/06/14 - 10:13 am
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^^hahah My hubby would differ

And that is one of the reasons I adore you...

Have fun on that out of this world GOLF COURSE--It really is everything a course should be.

Butterman
3459
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Butterman 04/06/14 - 11:23 am
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Cheap

Augusta's greatest attributes have always been it's mild climate (exception of this year) and its cheapness. I took a friend to a washington road watering hole one Saturday night and he was amazed that pitchers of beer were only $6 and giant fishbowl margaritas were only $5. You can rent an entire house for what a sofa in a living room would cost you in NYC or DC. If you are looking for brightlights and excitement, Augusta probably wont deliver, but if you want champagne on a beer budget, it does ok. Unlike some, I appreciate Augusta for what it is. I don't try to pretend it is the Beverly Hills of the South like some people do.

Butterman
3459
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Butterman 04/06/14 - 11:52 am
1
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Pimento Cheese

Funny how everyone becomes a raging fan of mediocre pimento cheese spread on white bread during this one week out of the year. Excuse me, but I have never been a fan of the stuff. No cheese should glow in the dark.

dichotomy
30809
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dichotomy 04/06/14 - 01:12 pm
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And may I invite all of our

And may I invite all of our visitors to tour South Richmond County with a view toward possible investment. We are currently seeking sit down restaurants (particularly a steak house), higher quality grocery stores, retail of any type, and middle and upper middle class housing developments.

Please ignore the leftover limbs and trees on the road right-of-ways. We only got 1 very quick pass of the cleanup crews, not the 2 and 3 passes the side of town where you are staying and playing received.

rebellious
20226
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rebellious 04/06/14 - 11:09 pm
0
0
I have looked

at other locations to live in the glorious South. They never compare in totality to the benefits of the CSRA. Overall, I have not been able to find that Utopian Society I could afford to live in which compelled me to uproot from "home".

That being said, as in a family environment, we vent, argue, complain, suggest and otherwise express displeasure within the family. Some of the worst exchanges on this board come when an "outsider" dares to point out something wrong with our family. You know what I mean. I can tell my brother he is a lazy slob, but someone outside the family say that to me, and the fight is on, even if they are right and I agree. They have no standing to criticize a member of the family.

And when you think your family is really, really messed up, you hear of another family's drama. And you reflect that maybe we ain't so bad. Could we be better? Sure. Should we strive towards that end? Sure!
Just sometimes, you get tired of hearing it. Sometimes even though you know it is true, you just don't want it in your face, day-in, day-out. And the phrase "If you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem" starts to play in your head.

So lead, follow, get out of the way, or lend support. And to massacre another phrase "If it ain't fixed, don't break it" (Leroy Irvin, Glenn Hills graduate interviewed as a LA Rams player and spoken to Roy Firestone on National Television)

harley_52
22279
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harley_52 04/07/14 - 10:42 am
0
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