Commissioners explore Canal recreation possibilities

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August 17, 2007

Augusta, GA---With wet suit on and life board in hand, Commissioner Andy Cheek took to the Augusta canal. It's the first time anyone has ever tried such a thing. Commissioner Cheek says, "The canal initially was the industrial engine that made Augusta a great city, it can be again the industrial engine for economic development."

The idea is to create a park from the 12th Street bridge to Hawk's Gulley along 15th and Broad Street. The plan is to fill the canal with water from the river at least two to three times a month. The activites include canoeing, kayaking, and inner tubing all free to the public; but at a cost.

It's called an exploratory mission to see how feasible it is to bring boating along the Augusta canal. The cost to clean up the area is about $500, 000.

City administrator, Fred Russell says it's worth the expense. He says, "We are very serious about Augusta and we're very serious about making this the best place on the east coast if not the entire country to come to enjoy our recreation facilities."

Friday's mission along the third level of the canal took about 45 minutes. A team of kayakers, including, Commissioner Joe Bowles and the EMA dive team were also on hand.

Fire Chief Howard Willis says, "It helps our water rescue team to get a good grip on what to expect." For now, things are just in the planning stages but it is fair to say pretty soon augusta might be ready to go with the flow.

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