Originally created 05/26/05

Ridge Forest residents strive for close-knit community



Troy Alderman, of Augusta, doesn't live in the Ridge Forest community off Tobacco Road, but some of his friends do.

When he and his nephew, Jonathan Brooks, 16, stopped at a gasoline station just down the street from the neighborhood, they heard a community fish fry was being held - a good reason to visit his friends.

"You can't pass up a good meal like this," Mr. Alderman said of the dinner he'd just purchased, complete with fish, fries, hushpuppies, coleslaw and a drink.

While Mr. Alderman and others waited for their $6 catfish and whiting meals, Ridge Forest residents helped cook, serve and clean up at the dinner, which was held May 14 in an empty lot at the entrance of the neighborhood, not far from Peach Orchard Road.

"You want to see teamwork in action? You should see us preparing for this," said Kay Capizzi, a former neighborhood association president who said that after years of having an annual barbecue, this was their first time serving fish.

She said the south Augusta community, which is within walking distance of Tobacco Road Elementary School, has 203 houses. Christmas decoration and Yard of the Month awards help foster pride in the neighborhood.

"It's a very community-minded neighborhood; a good many people know each other," Ms. Capizzi said. "It deserves to be recognized."

Ridge Forest Neighborhood Association President Darry Brown organized the dinner, with plenty of help from his wife, Emma, and other residents. Mrs. Brown said there's always a good turnout at the function and other events the community holds.

"We have a Christmas gathering, an Easter egg hunt and activities for the neighborhood kids. And we just started the Deloris Dukes scholarship fund in recognition of a neighbor who died last year," Mrs. Brown said of the area where she and Mr. Brown have lived with their three children for the past 10 years.

Steve Wilson, who is retired from the Army, has lived in Ridge Forest with his wife, Darlene, and two daughters for 12 years. He likes the area, especially its location.

"It's not too congested. Everybody keeps to themselves," he said. "It's nice, quiet, friendly."

Another Army retiree, Lonnie Watson, agreed. He and his wife, Aurelia, have lived there since 1994.

"It's a quiet neighborhood, real good neighbors. Everybody helps everybody," he said.

Marieta Allen, a 12-year resident, offered a reason for the lack of noise.

"It's quieting down since we're getting the graduating seniors out, but I love it," she said, adding the one change she'd make would be to add speed bumps.

Mrs. Brown said there also is one thing she would change.

"I would ask neighbors to give us a little more support on neighborhood activities for upkeep and for things for our children," she said. "It's a good neighborhood, nice, quiet. Everybody seems to get along. We have a little confrontation now and then, but it's good."

Reach C. Samantha McKevie at (706) 823-3552 or samantha.mckevie@augustachronicle.com.