Originally created 10/26/02

Augusta Common to open, rain or shine



Even rain-soaked grounds won't delay the scheduled opening of the long-awaited Augusta Common, according to city officials.

"The amount of rain we've had so far isn't going to have any effect on the turf for the grand opening," said Tom Beck, the director of Parks and Recreation for Augusta-Richmond County.

Festivities to celebrate the opening of Augusta's new greenway are scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. today at the park, located in the 800 block of Broad and Reynolds streets.

A week of rain has left the park's grass a bit soggy, but forecasters at the National Weather Service in West Columbia, S.C., said Friday that the chances of rain today were only about 20 percent.

According to lead inspector Brian Franklin, drainage systems installed during construction will prevent flooding and damage to the turf.

As part of last-minute preparations Friday, inmates from Richmond County jails were pressure-washing walkways clean of construction dirt.

"We're just making sure that there aren't any uneven brick places, that the mulch is in place and that there isn't any sand in the sidewalk area," Mr. Beck said.

Construction began 14 months ago on the park, which will serve as a venue for live music today.

The city has plans to close several downtown streets during opening ceremonies. Reynolds Street - between Eighth and Ninth streets - and the westbound lane of Broad Street between Eighth and Ninth streets will be closed through noon Sunday. The eastbound lane of Broad Street between Eighth and Ninth streets also will be closed beginning at noon today. That lane will reopen 2 a.m. Sunday.

Drivers should use Eighth and Ninth streets, Ellis Street and Greene Street to access downtown.

Reach Amy Connell at (706) 823-3220 or amy.connell@augustachronicle.com.