News 12 First at Five / Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Local people living in the direct path of a major construction project are calling it a "nightmare come true." They sent a letter to the Augusta Commission. On Tuesday, the city responded.
"What can you say? It is just unreal," said Herman Thacker. "And we are just devastated by it."
The Thackers wrote a letter to commissioners telling them how the project would take up 25 feet or more of their front yard.
Mr. Thacker says they've only heard back from Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles.
"I will help them fight the city and whoever tries to take their land to pay them that fair value," Bowles said.
Bowles notes the project could devour part of the Thackers' yard and even force the city to condemn their entire neighboring property.
"Everybody else has taken the money and run, and they decided that they wanted to spend the latter years of their life in their home, and I think that is something we should consider and respect," Bowles said.
Traffic Engineer Steve Cassell says the plan is not to displace families.
"Nor do I want to, so yeah, we are going to avoid it," he said.
A portion of the letter reads:
"It's just not right! We are senior citizens, taxpayers in Richmond County since 1959 and worked hard keeping these two places and something like this comes in and destroys us."
The city is now on the record, and only time will tell how this all ends.
"Well, you know I sympathize with anybody. You know you've got a lot of uncertainty with this, and my goal is just to be as honest and upfront with them as I can," Bowles said.
The Engineering Department says they are just in the design phase right now and they are confident the coming weeks should bring more certainty.