They came to visit the Augusta Riverwalk, but it was no pleasure trip for city leaders.
"A lot of overgrown shrubbery, trees that are overgrown limbs that need to be pruned, poor lighting several things erosion of the soil a lack of attention," says Mayor Pro-Tem Corey Johnson, who organized the trip that included several Augusta Commissioners, Mayor Deke Copenhaver, City Administrator Fred Russell and the new Recreation and Parks Director and some of his staff.
But, city leaders are now paying attention to Riverwalk...the condition is something we pointed out three weeks ago.
In our story, we showed you the rampant weeds, and lack of maintenance issues in the popular park, but city leaders say with some work, Riverwalk can again be a showcase for the city.
"There's some things we can do immediately, as far as this Commission is concerned. The landscaping and shrubbery needs to be brought down in different areas. That's a no brainer, we've got bulbs that are totally out, we've got bulbs that are totally missing," says Commissioner Alvin Mason, when addressing the lighting issues.
The tour did not include the Richmond County Sheriff's Office and there was no talk on this tour of extra patrols or surveillance cameras, but Commissioners say fixing the look of Riverwalk will increase security.
"That's where we got to start, George. We talk about safety, we want safety. Until you start taking care of those things like overgrown shrubberies, and trees that are overgrown and limbs that are issues," said Johnson.
And, while this tour looked at the landscaping and the lighting, it walked right by the serious concrete and brick problems on Riverwalk...the repairs that will cost the most money.
"The hard part comes when we look at mortar and brick. We're going to have to decide on how much money we're going to spend, where that revenue source will come from," says Commissioner Donnie Smith.
The tour allowed city leaders to make a list of the maintenance issues at Riverwalk so the problems can be addressed, but maintenance is expected to continue to lag.
Riverwalk does not have its own crew. The workers are also responsible for maintaining the Augusta Common, James Brown Boulevard, the medians on Broad Street, and special events.
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