Originally created 05/30/97

Subcommittee looks at new downtown parking lot



Lynn McDonald is tired of all the unwanted traffic in her neighborhood near the Augusta Canal.

For years, people going to the canal have been parking in front of Mrs. McDonald's house on Riverlook Drive, sometimes blocking her driveway. They leave litter in the neighborhood and have little respect for homeowners' property, Mrs. McDonald said.

On Easter Sunday, someone even had a picnic in her front yard.

On Thursday, an Augusta Commission subcommittee considered a plan to lock the Riverlook Drive canal gate - never intended to be used by the public - and build a parking lot for park visitors on Eisenhower Drive, just past Eisenhower Little League Field.

The cost for the parking lot is estimated at $30,700 and would likely be shared by the city and the Augusta Canal Authority.

The main entrance to the canal is at Goodrich Street, but over the years people began parking on Riverlook Drive and coming in the back way, Canal Authority Chairman Dick Fox said.

"It's one of the things that built over the years. It just sort of happened," Mr. Fox said. "We understand that the neighborhood doesn't want people parking in front of their houses."

The subcommittee agreed Thursday to make a recommendation that the commission's engineering services committee designate funding for the parking lot project, set a timetable for construction and work out a lease agreement with the owners of the little league field.

If the proposal is approved by the commission, the parking lot could be completed by Sept. 1, said Drew Goins, deputy assistant commissioner of public works.