The Augusta Canal Authority wants to pave a small portion of the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area.
Goodrich Street, the major entrance route to the popular bicycling and jogging towpath, is one of the last unpaved roads in downtown Augusta, said Dayton Sherrouse, canal authority director.
The authority learned last week that local sales-tax dollars were allocated three years ago for paving dirt roads in Augusta Commissioner Jerry Brigham's district, Mr. Sherrouse said.
Mr. Brigham said he notified the authority about the availability of the money -- totaling almost $200,000 -- because he believed there would be no interest in paving the road.
"I'm trying to see if the canal authority would prefer it stay dirt, so maybe these funds can be used for other purposes," he said. The other purposes would include traffic signals and other traffic-flow improvements.
Canal authority members, however, agreed to explore paving the portion of Goodrich Street between the King and Sibley mills complex and the juncture of Goodrich Street with the canal towpath about a half-mile away.
The eastern portion of Goodrich Street could be paved without interfering with bicyclists and joggers who use the towpath on the canal banks, Mr. Sherrouse said.
"It's an awful maintenance thing now," he said. "It must be scraped after rains, and it's full of holes."
Farther down Goodrich Street, where the road becomes one with the towpath, there would be no paving, he said. "Anywhere there's pedestrian or bicycle traffic would remain all natural, not paved," he said.
Reach Robert Pavey at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 119.