Augusta National looks to expand parking

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September 19, 2006

The Augusta National Golf Club continues to swing away at building a new parking complex around the club.

Today it announced final plans for the property and is asking the city for variances to allow for the property to be turned into parking areas.

“Takes a long time to build them but not a long time to tear them down,” resident Mike Toomey told News 12.

House after house along Berckmans Road and Heath Drive has been torn down. What was once a quiet residential community is now a demolition site.

“We've been seeing it happen little by little,” Toomey said. “The last couple of years it's been happening a little bit faster.

The community's neighbor, Augusta National Golf Club, is busting at the seams for parking. Land with driveways that used to hold one or two cars will be combined to hold an extra 5000 spots by 2010.

Many homeowners were offered lucrative deals to sell their property. But Herman Thacker wasn't biting.

“Money can't buy you happiness,” he told News 12. “This is a home. You can't just go out and buy a home. We've lived here 47 years and don't want to move.”

So Augusta National is working around him and others that felt the same way. The new lots will have buffer areas to allow for privacy. Toomey will also enjoy this privacy, since the club wasn't interested in his lot.

“Now we have some idea who our neighbors are going to be, which will be cars, trees, and the Augusta National,” he said.

But both have high hopes for the project.

“I think whatever they do, it will be first class,” Thacker said.

“I'm confident they'll do it the right way,” said Toomey. “They're neighbors to us and want to do the right thing by us.”

And Toomey says if the club comes knocking, he would be willing to make a deal.

“There's a lot of memories here, but at the end of the day, it’s just a house, and we'll make a home somewhere else.”

Augusta National says the property will be well maintained throughout the year and will be given a “greenspace” look. Some neighbors News 12 spoke with are already happy with what little improvements have already been made.

The club says people will still be able to make money parking cars on their lawns in that area.

They say the demand will most likely exceed the supply even after the project is completed.

Nothing is final yet. The city still needs to sign off the project.

For more information on the Augusta National's plans, click here.