Augusta, GA (WJBF)—You asked for more nature trails, and now you are getting them. This was the number one recreation you voted for in Augusta’s Master Plan. This week, commissioners approved a new trail for South Augusta.
NewsChannel 6’s Ashley Osborne talked to the non-profit organizing the construction. She got the plan for the path that will go around Old Lombard Mill Pond near Deans Bridge Road.
Old Lombard Mill Pond is about 40 acres in size and there is already a preliminary trail out there. The Central Savannah River Land Trust used money from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to build an observation deck and a gravel path that runs about a quarter mile around the front side of the pond.
“You want to be able to get out in nature. You don’t want to feel like you’re still in the city,” says Land Trust Executive Director Hazel Cook. She describes the history behind Old Lombard Mill Pond.
“This property used to have a grist mill on it that burned.” Cook continues, “It used to have a creek on it and then when the mill was here it dammed up and became a pond. Now that the mill is gone, it’s a restored wetland where it’s kind of half creek and have pond.”
This week commissioners approved $500,000 of SPLOST money to upgrade the existing gravel path to a concrete one and extend it further.
“This half of the trail loops around the front side of the pond and it comes to a point where we’re going to need to build a bridge,” Cook explains. “The new design will include a bridge that crosses the creek it’ll upgrade the trails. It’ll add some amenities at the front like benches and trashcans and improved parking.”
The goal is to have a 2 mile loop around the pond. The picture below shows the blueprint. The gold color shows the existing gravel path, the green is the future bridge across the pond, the red is phase 2 and the bright yellow is phase 3. The last two parts will take voters approving more money and Cook explains why you should vote for it.
“We believe that everyone has the right and deserves access to nature and it needs to be free, not everyone can own a house on the river or a private nature preserve, but what we’re trying to do is give everyone in the community access.”
The 2 mile loop around Old Lombard Mill Pond is the short term goal. The long term goal is to link the Old Lombard Mill Trail to a 60 mile loop throughout Richmond County. The even longer term goal is to connect Richmond, Columbia and Aiken counties with nature trails.
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