While I strongly support the redevelopment of the disadvantaged Laney-Walker area, it is my belief that the inclusion of these structures would have made any such efforts more successful. The handsome sanctuary and old school building, which were built more than a century ago, saw generation after generation of Augusta’s leading African-American citizens pass through their doors – but now the beautifully designed and crafted structures are lost forever. All of Augusta’s citizens are poorer for their destruction.
Augusta’s historic neighborhoods are our single most important competitive advantage with respect to other communities, often cited as “the best reason to live in Augusta.” We must do a better job of preserving them.
(The writer is chairman of the Preservation Committee for the preservation group Historic Augusta.)