Originally created 09/29/05

Forest Estates residents have a sense of security



With the busy thoroughfares of Gordon Highway, Bobby Jones Expressway and Wrightsboro Road not far from Forest Estates, quiet would seem to be the last adjective used to describe the community.

Robert and Janice Johnson, though, said their neighborhood is a peaceful place - except for the trains.

"This subdivision really is quiet and comfortable," Mrs. Johnson said.

Bordered by Idlewild Drive, North Leg Road and Wylds Road, Forest Estates is about a two-minute drive from Augusta Mall, according to the Johnson's eldest daughter, Jalyisia, a senior at the Academy of Richmond County.

"Ironically, we are not affected by mall traffic at the holidays," Mrs. Johnson said.

The couple said they moved into the neighborhood in 1999.

Mr. Johnson retired from the Army as a staff sergeant last month, and Mrs. Johnson works at Fort Gordon as a military personnel specialist.

The couple said they learned he would be stationed at Fort Gordon when they returned from his post in Germany.

Mrs. Johnson said she immediately e-mailed principals at Richmond County schools and received favorable responses from Copeland Elementary School and Langford Middle School.

She said she then began researching neighborhoods in those school zones.

Forest Estates' convenience to shopping centers and Fort Gordon attracted the Johnsons, as did the people in the neighborhood.

"Generations have been living here," Mr. Johnson said. "Everybody is really nice."

Many of their neighbors are retired professionals, the couple said.

"These folks have lived here for years," Mr. Johnson said.

People in the neighborhood watch out for each other and are not afraid to question suspicious- looking activity, she said.

"There's a standard. There's concern," said Mrs. Johnson, who has served as secretary of the neighborhood association. "People are very involved with the community and the neighborhood. People ask a lot of questions, and the neighborhood association will go that extra distance. I think that deters (illegal) activity."

The neighbors get to know each other through quarterly association meetings and regular neighborhood yard sales.

Sales are held in the spring and fall each year. Mrs. Johnson said the fall sale usually is held in early November.

Although there aren't many teenagers in the neighborhood, Mr. Johnson said, he makes it a point to know those who are there. Each summer, he said, he places a basketball goal at the end of the dead-end street for the teens to use.

"It keeps them out of trouble," he said.

Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at czbrackett@hotmail.com.