Neighbors question overgrown city property

Richmond County

AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF) – City code officers say one of the biggest difficulties of cracking down on abandoned buildings and overgrown lots are that some owners have simply abandoned their properties and have stopped taking care of it…and that leads to issues like six feet tall weeds.  

It’s an all too common scene across Augusta: an overgrown lot in desperate need of cutting and an abandoned building falling apart. Neighbors have a word to describe it…

“A jungle. Yes, that’s about it,” said neighbor Edwin Bennett.  

It wasn’t always like this. This is what is left of Blount Park in Sand Hills, the recreation area before the new community center was built 16 years ago. 

There was tennis and basketball courts and a lighted ball field.  

“I grew up there man, I remember it all…but they slacked up on us,” said Henry Washington.  

Commissioners have formed a blight subcommittee to take on overgrown lots and abandoned buildings. City officials tell commissioners it’s difficult when property owners walk away. 

“In some of the older city neighborhoods, the properties are basically abandoned because the owner is not willing to spend the money,” said Planning Director Rob Sherman. 

And when the owners stop spending the money and caring of the property, you get Blount Park today.

“Me and a couple of guys in the neighborhood tried to keep it. We cut it ourselves and then the prisoners came up and they cut it a few times and then they stopped and that was it. So it’s basically abandoned,” said Bennett.  

Neighbors say the city should not be creating this problem…it should be solving it.

“Put it on back on the agenda and keep it clean,” said Washington.  

Now there has been some movement to keep this space from continuing going to waste. A couple of years ago there was a push to turn this into a community garden. Obviously that movement hasn’t taken root.

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