The Augusta-Richmond County Historic Preservation Committee, as its name says, is in the business of preserving history. But last Thursday it made history of its own - unanimously, and commendably, approving the first phase of the long-awaited city Common project.
The Common marks a turning point for the city, especially its downtown. In about six weeks, the ugly, dilapidated buildings in the 800 block of Broad Street will be demolished. A few months later construction will begin to transform the eyesore area into a lovely greenspace between Eighth and Ninth streets, designed to be the heart of the center city and a gathering place for community events.
The Common's first phase should be completed in about a year. When the entire Common project is finished, it will provide a greenbelt stretching across half the 800 block from the riverfront to Broad Street.
It will also be a huge asset in spurring the city's updated revitalization master plan that calls for, among other things, expanding residential development along the riverfront.