Sand Hills gathering spot regulars push back on criticism


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – This a pretty common site here on Wheeler Road in Sand Hills: a group of neighbors sitting and socializing in that empty lot…but some are going to commissioners and saying this activity is bad for Sand Hills.

They call it ‘the tree’,  a sort of out door social club for those that gather here. Many ex-caddies at the local courses.

“It’s just like a big family thing. People don’t be cutting up, they’re having a good time,” said Lewis Butler.

But right now some of those coming here are not having a good time. They’ve heard that this regular gathering spot is causing a disturbance and is ‘bad for neighborhood’.

“It’s not noisy. All we do is cookout…communicate with each other,” said George Jackson.

The group has the permission of one of the lot co-owners to hang out, there’s no issues as long as they follow the law.

“They’re keeping the property up for me, honestly speaking. One thing, no drug selling on this property and they do not do that,” said Minister Lyndon Carr.

Nelson Smith told commissioners that this gathering place is bad for Sand Hills and Augusta

Smith owns a nearby apartment complex and says the hangout is costing this area big dollars in lost property values and redevelopment opportunities. 

“All these buildings are abandoned and that’s a shame and if you really kind of worked on the problem you could attribute more than a million dollars worth of damage. Just how difficult it would be to live next to something like that?” said Smith. “People driving by might be scared, kids might be scared.”

“To me he’s prejudiced  because of color,” said Carr.

Now Smith says after focusing on Sand Hills for redevelopment, he is done with Augusta. Saying commissioners have blighted him.

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