Take advantage of river

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It was suggested that I send a summary of some of my ideas for lifestyle and economic improvement in Augusta. Here goes:

We live on a big river but get little out of it. Other cities have developed their urban waterfront – in our case from 13th Street to Fifth Street – but not us. We might as well be living in the countryside. The reasons we have not taken advantage of our greatest natural resource are lack of vision and fear.

The levee remains in place supposedly to protect Augusta from flooding, but this fear has no foundation in fact. The U.S. Geological Survey has been keeping track of Savannah River levels since the 1700s, and while it is true that Augusta regularly flooded in the past, when the first upstream dam was completed in the 1950s water levels have consistently been much lower. I suggest anyone with a differing view look at the data.

I’ve lived here for 40 years. The only “flood” we had didn’t even come close to the base of our levee. There are now five upstream dams, and river levels have never been lower. The large pools created by these dams increase evaporative and seepage loss, and reduce the flow.

Maybe you’ve noticed there doesn’t seem to be a levee on the South Carolina side of the river. The U.S. Corps of Engineers has told those people they are not going to flood, and the foundations of those buildings are lower than the base of our levee.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could have restaurants, shops, water taxis, theaters, performing arts centers, farmer markets, hotels, etc., right on the Savannah River instead of being behind a pile of dirt like we have now? Think of the implications for tourist dollars. San Antonio attracts 9 million visitors each year to its Riverwalk; they don’t seem to be having economic problems like we do. If you include the land from the Reynolds Street side of the levee to the river, there is more square-footage than between Reynolds and Broad streets. At the moment the city receives no tax dollars from this prime property.

Wouldn’t you like to have dinner right on the Savannah River? I would. Why not contact your Augusta Commission representative and the mayor? Let’s get this ball rolling.

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Riverman1 02/20/13 - 07:09 am
We've brought these issues up

We've brought these issues up repeatedly. But one thing you said didn't make sense. You complain about all the dams, but also note there has not been any serious flooding because of the dams. The reason the river is low is the same reason the lake is low....a doggone drought. Not Corp of Engineers' black helicopters' management of the dams. Now go tell whoever suggested you give your ideas to the western world that maybe it wasn't such a good idea.

jic 02/20/13 - 07:56 am
actually, according to the

actually, according to the AC, the river has been kept low this year deliberately to relieve pressure on the lock and dam, which is old and in need of extensive repair/replacement. South Carolina and Augusta need to resolve this issue before any other plans are made for development. Without the downstream dam, we would have nothing but a Savannah Creek and our boats would be sitting in mud.

agustinian 02/20/13 - 08:02 am
Your Federal Government at Work

Thank you for a great letter and insight. You are right about the flooding and the CSRA. After the upstream dams, there will be no flooding of the Savannah River. But get this, the federal government still REQUIRES every property owner who gets a mortgage to buy "flood insurance" because the property lies in the 100 year flood plain. Yes, in the last 100 years the river flooded -- but, we have dams now! The federal government requiring "flood insurance" here after all the dams, is like requiring health insurance for dead people.

Nice letter -- your argument holds water -- dam it!

Darby 02/20/13 - 01:37 pm
"San Antonio attracts 9 million visitors each....

year to its Riverwalk; they don't seem to be having economic problems like we do."

Maybe we could trade county commissions with San Antonio. Of course, if San Antonio had our commission, they'd probably end up deeding the Alamo to Mexico with a month.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 02/20/13 - 04:09 pm

Dr. Smith (some parts of his letter sound as if they were written by countyman) wrote the following:

If you include the land from the Reynolds Street side of the levee to the river, there is more square-footage than between Reynolds and Broad streets. At the moment the city receives no tax dollars from this prime property.

The land between the levee and the river is currently owned by the city (there's no telling how many decades the deed goes back to). Hence, no taxes. Now, if the city tore down the levee, the city would still own the land. It would have to sell the land to private entities in order to generate property taxes. What kind of squawking would we hear if the city put that land up for sale? Some well-heeled investors would want very large parcels. Others (not so flush with ready cash) would like to be able to buy a tiny parcel on the river. Would the Justice Department get in on the plans so the sales would be fairly distributed according to race, gender, and national origin? Would the city be able to deny an owner the ability to open a strip club on the river just because a meddling commissioner didn't like it? Would Augusta Riverfront LLC insist that the city give them a parcel free of charge just for all they've done for the city? Would Betty Beard demand her forty acres and a mule?

You would open up a can of worms by trying to sell off the land.

soapy_725 02/20/13 - 05:11 pm
The history of Augusta by a noephile.

Forty years in Augusta is nothing. And don't go to GRU to get the facts. They have been sanitized by neophiles with two or three years in Augusta. Mr Cashin knew the history. But he could not tell it all.

Augusta is as bound up as the sewer system. If all of the she it from 278 years of government mis-management were to be released at once it would rival Hiroshima.

Leadership that has no other purpose than to feed on an economy supported by federal government projects. Augusta started as a fort and it is still a fort. An armed outpost of the federal government used for troop training, manufacture and storage of weapons of mass destruction.

Just as the bars, tattoo parlors and prostitutes congregate outside military installations, local political prostitutes and those that would "role the GI's" continue to ply their evil trades.

Jacksonville, Cleveland, NYC, Cincinnati, Columbus GA and even Savannah have made the most of t heir river front. But not ARC. ARC is to busy stealing taxpayer dollars to be interested in anything else. Stealing from taxpayers is the "premier sport" in Augusta, not golf. Thus the great effort by the ANGC to create as large a buffer zone as possible around their property. An island or mote with gators might work. Reroute Washington Rd over to the "Not A River Watch Pkwy"?

KasparHauser 02/24/13 - 11:14 am
Simple Question

I seem to recall seeing Riverwalk under water more than once, regardless of the 'dams upstream'.

Looks like Uncle Alz is still up and about...

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