Riverwalk Attack Anniversary

Augusta Riverwalk, May 2006. Photo copyright Heather Meadows. Used with permission.
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Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

Augusta, GA (WRDW)- One year ago to the day, Wesley Spires and Ashley Solesbee were having their first date when they were brutally attacked by two men asking to use their cell phone. Despite the beginning, their story has a happy ending. Today they're getting married.

"He's the only one God put here for me," said Ashley Solesbee back in January.

Today, they will walk down the aisle and May 3rd will be a happy date.
For others today was their first time back to the Riverwalk since the couple's attack.

"This is my first time back, and the first time bringing my daughter here," said Phillip Aaron.

It was something that shook the community. Phillip Aaron said that's the reason he hasn't been back since. After a year, he feels that now it's somewhere he can take his daughter.

"I get to take her somewhere that I feel like she can run around, and enjoy the sunlight, and the water, and just enjoy herself. This is her first time down here so she's having a blast," said Aaron.

The City of Augusta has cut down trees along the Riverwalk for better visibility, and fixed the lighting problem.

Just a year ago walking along the Riverwalk may have been a little scary, but deputies have stepped up security down there, and also through out downtown. Richmond County will have 6 to 8 deputies specifically patrolling the downtown area.

"I guess I feel a little safer knowing that I'm pretty sure someone is walking around," said Aaron.

Two weeks ago, Richmond County started the new smart unit, adding a layer safety to downtown. They also have civilian positions to help police catch crime.

"They are the eyes and ears, and will utilize the radio systems that are in place to contact the beat cops that will be down there," said Commissioner Alvin Mason

Looking forward, one thing the city hopes for is video surveillance cameras downtown and even cameras on deputies vest.
While those safety measures start downtown, they will grow.

"We've done the things that we can do, but we can always do more but we should feel a lot better about the safety of the Riverwalk than what it was this time last year," said Mason.

Those surveillance cameras will costs millions of dollars, and are not in the budget as of now, but is something Alvin said they're pushing for.