Sand Hills' pride should be recaptured

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In reference to Kyle Martin's article "Neighbors lament crime" (Jan. 6), there are a myriad of problems facing the historic Sand Hills community. Wife Saver's recent closing is a continuous reminder of a neighborhood's neglect and demise.

I was born and raised a mere 50 feet away from Wife Saver. I grew up here, and know these streets well. My kids roll down the hill in my mom's front yard that I enjoyed as a child. The same innocence doesn't exist, but there is a pride and safety I feel in my community.

The dynamics of our neighborhood's decline include several factors: economic stagnation, abandoned housing, greater unemployment and, most importantly, a sense of hopelessness. I can look out my mom's kitchen window at the same group of men many neighbors fear. I grew up with them and went to the same schools. I know personally the struggles and sense of no hope and no future.

Looking around our streets, there is nothing to take pride in. The OK Pantry, the big empty field on Wheeler Road or the almost totally abandoned houses on Mount Auburn? How about the former Weed School? Take your pick of the "pride" of our community. Why is it that Berckmans Road was paved from Washington Road all the way to Wheeler? The state Department of Transportation couldn't continue up Highland Avenue? We are truly a neighborhood of have-nots!

Can you get the same warm and fuzzy feeling walking in Sand Hills that you do in Summerville? Do we share the same sense of affluence as Surrey Center? Sand Hills, historically, has faced a serious disconnect. And while race always has played a part (this is Augusta, after all), economics is the biggest factor. There is no investment in Sand Hills. We're not part of the Sustainability Agenda for Augusta. We don't have a Kroc Center or a Fuller Center for Housing, both in Harrisburg. Our community development has been dormant and questionable at best.

With our proximity to the Augusta National Golf Club, we should serve as a proud gateway to the prestigious tournament, not as a community that people fear as they drive through. There needs to be economic stimulus brought to Sand Hills. We need to recapture the pride that our community once had.

Originally, our neighborhood was named after Porter Fleming's daughter Elizabeth. Elizabethtown had a rich and distinguished history. Sand Hills needs to recapture that pride. We must bring sustainable economic development to our neighborhood.

It's bigger than the fried chicken place. It's about living in a place in which all Augustans can take pride.

Javon Armstrong


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sandhillbilly 01/09/11 - 09:20 am
Mr. Armstrong, You make a lot

Mr. Armstrong,
You make a lot of valid points in your letter. In order for the Sand Hills community to grow and prosper, there needs to be strong leadership that's willing to rally the community to move forward. Many residents sit back and watch their neighborhood fall by the waist side without even trying to do anything to encourage community development. I guess you can ask the questions: what have I done to make this a better community? Are you someone that's trying to make a difference? Are you organizing or participating in the Sand Hills Neighborhood Association? Are you organizing a Neighborhood Watch program? Are you calling your commissioner and challenging the fact that Sand Hills is not part of the Sustainability Agenda for Augusta? Are you researching programs that could kick start community and economic development? Are you researching how to eliminate the blight in Sand Hills? You cannot depend on Government for everything. You have to initiate that leadership and maybe see what government programs are available to assist you. You're right that it is bigger than the fried chicken place, but the residents need to come together and eliminate this sense of hopelessness. Maybe you should reach out to some of the men you grew up with (that's standing on the corners) and get them engaged in the community. You may not be aware but some of those men are homeless. Maybe the residents need to seek programs that address homeless and underemployment. It's time for the Sand Hills residents to stand together and fight for what they want. I must admit that I really appreciate the way that Lori Davis and Butch Palmer stand up for the Harrisburg neighborhood. Has anyone in the Sand Hills community decided to stand up and fight? Are you willing to initiate action and take back your neighborhood now or will you continue to only talk about this hopelessness a year from now?

Carleton Duvall
Carleton Duvall 01/09/11 - 08:30 am

Excellent comment,sandhillbilly. Conditions in our neighborhoods will only get worse if we, the residents, don't take action.

CabisKhan 01/09/11 - 10:20 am
As an aside, an email to me

As an aside, an email to me contained this lamentation:That armed robbery on November 5th by the street thugs has led to another business to close. What are all the neighborhood people going to eat now. Anyway, in my family, for at least 35 years, we could not have had a family gathering, holiday or funeral w/out some good old Wife Saver from this store. On the Smith side of my family, it was required by law to have Wife Saver chicken w/plenty of biscuits for a funeral, even if it was in Warrenton or Sparta, GA. What a shame

jhuran 01/09/11 - 03:06 pm
There is a neighborhood out

There is a neighborhood out south of Augusta affectionately called
"The Ville" with the same problem.Another settlement "cross
the railroad" known as The Park is also in a state of disorder .Now if we
leave these areas in the hands of our present tax commission, these
neighborhoods will belong to the county.

daviddunagan 01/09/11 - 11:28 pm
The writer says there is "no

The writer says there is "no investment in Sand Hills". Have you not seen or visited the new community center and walking track at the corner of Wheeler Rd. and Fleming Ave.? The residents of Sand Hills have to clean up their neighborhood and report and fight crime. Don't expect someone else to do it for you. DD

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