Spruce up downtown first

Maintenance is a necessity, and its cost must be built into every project in a city. As The Augusta Chronicle’s June 18 editorial points out (“Parsing the veranda plan”), the beautiful Riverwalk has not been maintained, and let us not mention the costly and now failed Golf and Gardens project.

Now Augusta Commissioner Marion Williams proposes to cover some of the few existing parking spaces on Broad Street with a veranda, necessitating additional lighting and surveillance underneath. Also he wants to remove existing trees and shrubbery to create what looks like a plaza to create a frame for the small statue of James Brown, which then would require additional new plantings of other trees and bushes. What makes us think this would be any different?

I’m not familiar with the 2009 Master Plan, but if he wants to create a green space, allow me to point out that we already have existing green space in the form of the beautiful old trees shading the sidewalks of Broad Street. No, wait! In many places the sidewalks are neither pedestrian- nor handicapped-accessible.

Would it make sense to take the $3 million now proposed for the veranda/parking project and address the overall enhancement of the existing walking areas? Benches placed along the newly smoothed sidewalks would then allow everybody, including the elderly and handicapped, access to sit and enjoy the life of Augusta. One could even visit the stores without chancing a sprained ankle.

And, if funds for maintenance allow further enhancements, it could begin with the removal of dirt and trash, weeds and grass along the streets, so that Augusta, instead of looking like a “Garbage City,” would indeed fit the name “Garden City.”

 

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Rick McKee Editorial Cartoon