Originally created 01/20/99

Retirement magazine touts Augusta



If you're about to retire and thinking about leaving Augusta, think again.

The city was named one of six "great low-cost towns for retirement" in the latest issue of Where to Retire magazine.

Jim West, president of the Metro Augusta Chamber of Commerce, was pleasantly surprised at the positive press for the city, considering there's no campaign to woo retirees to the area.

"It's an area we ought to look at -- that's such a growing part of the community. Augusta might be a natural location for retirees," Mr. West said.

It was for Doyle "Buddy" Buck of Martinez.

After more than 26 years in the military and living all over the world, Mr. Buck chose to retire to Augusta in 1994.

Mr. Buck, who was stationed periodically at Fort Gordon, looked at Augusta, Washington, San Antonio and Austin, Texas.

After conducting some research, Mr. Buck, whose wife was ill at the time, chose the Garden City for its low cost of living and close proximity to respected medical research centers.

Mr. Buck's ideal fits that of most retirees, according to the magazine article.

Also noted as important for retirees are communities offering culture, entertainment, beauty, safety and a mild climate.

A low cost of living and affordable housing are also necessary. The current cost of living in Augusta is 91.6 percent of the national average, and housing costs 84.6 percent of the national average.

Mr. West said although the chamber has never made a concerted effort to market to retirees, it's something the organization may look at closer.

"We generally promote the quality-of-life factors in the city (to industry) that should have the same appeal to retirees," Mr. West said.

Other towns listed in the article are Fayetteville, Ark.; Lake Conroe, Texas; Berkeley Springs, W. Va.; Danville, Ky.; and Carlsbad, N.M.

Augusta's history, Southern hospitality and the Riverwalk also were touted as assets.

Margaret Weston can be reached at (706) 823-3217 or mweston@augustachronicle.com.