Originally created 08/12/97

Sand Hills named historic



Like many areas in Augusta, the Sand Hills neighborhood has seen its share of homes boarded up and left to ruin by its out-of-town owners. But a new designation might bring renewed interest.

The Sand Hills district has been named to the National Register of Historic Places, Griffith Polatty, preservation services manager at Historic Augusta Inc., said Monday.

"We think this is great," said Mr. Polatty, who has been working since 1993 to get the neighborhood named to the register. "This is a way of helping highlight the neighborhood.

Sand Hills, a historically African-American neighborhood, is adjacent to Summerville, which was placed on the National Register in 1980. Bounded roughly by Monte Sano Avenue on the west, North View Avenue and Mount Auburn Street on the south, Johns Road on the east and the Augusta Country Club on the north, the neighborhood sprung up in the 1840s.

Many of those who lived in the district in the latter part of the 19th century and early part of this century worked as support staff for the wealthy Summerville homeowners.

Isaac Johnson, president of the Sand Hills Neighborhood Association and a trustee with Historic Augusta, said the designation will help in efforts to revitalize the neighborhood.

"We've been trying to get young energetic people to come back to the (Sand) Hill," he said. "If we're not careful, we'll lose the (Sand) Hill."

According to Mr. Polatty, home owners will have the opportunity to cash in on incentives such as property tax credits and local property tax freezes if they restore the homes in that area.

Sand Hills joins several other Augusta neighborhoods on the register including Harrisburg-West End, Olde Town, Summerville, Laney-Walker and part of Greene Street.

Mr. Polatty said he hopes the Bethlehem neighborhood will join the list soon. He began paperwork on that neighborhood about the same time as he was working on Sand Hills' information.