Originally created 10/26/02

Just the beginning

Green space is good for the soul.

And downtowns all across America are in desperate need of more soul.

That's what today's celebration of Augusta Common is all about.

You could look at the new green space between Broad and Reynolds streets between 8th and 9th as just a park. Even if it were, what's wrong with that - especially downtown?

But that would be missing the point.

You could, after all, look at a building such as the Civic Center and say it's just steel and concrete and so on. That doesn't define the facility; what defines it is what goes on inside.

It's the human element that counts.

It's the same with the Augusta Common.

What counts is that the green space will be a magnet for human interaction. Today's grand opening, a celebration stretching from 2 to 10 p.m., is just the beginning. But, boy, what a beginning.

MTV's popular host Carson Daly will emcee the grand opening which will feature musical acts taking turns on two stages from 3 to 9:15 p.m., the last of which will be headliner Jamie O'Neal. Following her performance will be a laser and fireworks show.

And it's all free to the public, funded by private donations.

Crews have worked feverishly in the past few months to ready the site, but truly it has been seven years in the making since Augusta Tomorrow Inc. unveiled its ambitious redevelopment vision for downtown.

And what you will see today is just the first of three phases: The oval-shaped green space linking the riverfront to Broad Street will someday be joined by a new Morris Museum of Art to the north. And Phase III will stretch the redevelopment south to Ellis Street, on the former Kress Department Store property.

Indeed, the project could be a catalyst for any number of improvements.

Today is just the beginning.

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