For Augusta Riverwalk visitors, the trees provide some shade, but to make the area more secure, some of these trees will leave. Thirty will be cut down, and another 300 limbed up, at a cost of $183,000.
"Obviously, we need to look at that. We've got some opportunities to do some work there, we just got to make sure we channel it in the direction in a phase form where we can pay for it," says City Administrator Fred Russell.
Another price for the city to pay is getting the lights in shape. Minor repairs are going on now.
"The glass on there is dirty, which is affecting how much light they can project we're cleaning that out changing some wiring out we're relamping everything," says Steve Cassell, assistant director of the city's Engineering Department, the department in charge of the overhead lights at the park.
But, the ultimate plan is to replace all the lights there, now. They're 25-years-old, but that would be a major expense that could be on the ballot for the next phase of the sales tax.
"You're probably looking at $2 million to replace all the poles and get it up to current lighting standards, so you have some lower level lighting and some upper level lighting, too. So, it will be a fairly extensive project we'll put that on the next SPLOST," said Cassell.
Though the trees and the lights are the big ticket items at Riverwalk, there's also a problem with the broken masonry. Augusta Recreation, Parks, and Facilities Department officials say they can do this in-house, but it's another $20,000.
May's assaults focused city leaders' attentions again on Riverwalk and what they found is a park with problems that now can be measured in millions of dollars.
"You've got to look at the cost avoidance. In the past, we ended up with the issues we have today and the maintenance, in the future, help prevent that so it's one of the tough things city face and it's one we're facing," says Russell.
Commissioners are expected to discuss the Riverwalk to-do list at their next committee meeting.
Augusta Recreation, Parks, and Facilities Department director Bob Levine says the tree work should be completed by December, however, that could be impacted if the Savannah River stays flooded for an extended period of time.
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