Botanical Gardens to be restored, free to public

By: Chris Thomas Email
By: Chris Thomas Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock, December 07, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---The deal has been signed and sealed between the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame and the city of Augusta. Now the mayor intends to deliver on plans to re-open.

Augusta's Golf and Gardens is set to re-open at the first of the year. This comes after the governor trimmed funds. That forced the park to close.

Linda Thabiti is a local florist. She calls the opening good news.

"Yes, it is very good news. We really missed them, as far as myself, it effected me because we usually do a lot of weddings there, and it being closed, it kinda hurt our business a little bit."

But change is on the horizon. Prison workers have been called in to cut back overgrown trees, trim shrubs, and clear life-less plants. The park's six month closure proved to be a death sentence for half of the park's flowers. But one lone rose seems to be a sign that life still exists.

"Absolutely, and we couldn't be more thrilled. This is a beautiful attraction, and we are just thrilled to see life in it again...and we look forward to a long partnership with the city," says Robyn Jarret with the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame.

There is $65,000 dollars in the budget for maintenance and up-keep and best of all...what at one time came at a cost, now is free to the public says the site manager, Darrell Bennett.

This will be the downtown city park, and we want to open it up to the public. Out here we're even gonna allow dogs out here on a leash, so come out, visit, bring your dogs, and have a nice day at the park."

Of course, it hasn't come easy. Over time the city has spent 3.8 million dollars on the gardens. "All of that city money...tax payer money had been invested into the project. I just couldn't see it sitting empty and growing weeds," said Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver.

The park will be open three days a week. The suggested days are Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.


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