A new waterway in downtown Augusta?

By: Chris Thomas Email
By: Chris Thomas Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock, August 22, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---The idea of turning two streets into canals got the 6 votes it needed to advance at Tuesday's commission meeting. Now Andy Cheek's Ellis Street Option is one step closer to becoming a reality.

Chris Brigdon works at a local sporting goods store. He's been in the business for a little over two years. He says he's excited about the possible waterway. "I think it would be great for Augusta to have another form of recreation other than just the natural waterway."

Commissioner Andy Cheek got the go-ahead Tuesday to find out how much the project would cost. The idea is to bring water to Ellis Street and 12th Street. The cost is between $25 and $50 million.

Barry White, president of the Augusta Convention and Visitor's Bureau, admits it's a lofty idea. "It's a big dream, it's a dream, but that's where the ideas start."

Tuesday's Commission decision brings what had been described as just a dream one step closer to reality. As of now Ellis Street is lined with abandoned buildings--about 80% of the buildings on the street are abandoned. Commissioner Cheek says, "This is an opportunity probably for the first time in one hundred years to take the vision of the canal our forefathers left us and grow that to where we can put the canal back to work."

But not everybody's sold on the project. John Roth works along the Augusta Canal as a tour guide. He says he has some concerns. "It is always something good to have fresh ideas, but I think that the Ellis Street canal would be a bad idea."

It's modeled off similar projects in Oklahoma City and San Antonio. In those places, streets are often lined with tourists. Brigdon says he looks forward to the day when Augusta can say the same. "It's great to see that they are putting money and time into recreation for the citizens."

We should say this is still in the planning stages. The next step is to go before the Commission to approve funding for the project.

Are you in favor of Andy Cheek's Ellis Street Option?

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  • by Pat Location: Hephzibah on Aug 31, 2007 at 07:09 AM
    The old South, as we know it, will never change if we as Augustans continue bickering and preventing positive growth that's much needed for our city. Let's do it!
  • by Anonymous on Aug 23, 2007 at 11:12 AM
    I am excited about this idea! We would definitely have a tourist draw unlike any other in the South or East of the Mississippi. We might even be able to add "Venice of the South" to our toolbag of promotional materials. Beats the heck out of a dragstrip.
  • by Terry Location: homemaker on Aug 23, 2007 at 08:02 AM
    Where on 12th street? Davidson Fine Arts School is on 12th street, would it go by there or affect traffic to and from the school? Traffic is rather tight in the mornings and afternoons already. There is limited parking for school events. Would the water flow fast enough not to cause additional mosquito breeding problems? What about the train tracks that are there? Routing around, under or over the trains is overdue, they interrupt emergency vehicles, scheduled events and of course, regular traffic.
  • by Marian Location: Barnwell on Aug 23, 2007 at 06:12 AM
    Sounds like a good idea...I would visit it.
  • by Branson Location: Augusta on Aug 22, 2007 at 06:44 PM
    This would certainly do a heck of a lot more to boost tourism to Augusta and rejevenate downtown than building Billy Morris another convention center at taxpayer expense.
  • by Wanda Location: Augusta on Aug 22, 2007 at 05:39 PM
    Mr.Cheek,I just got back from Texas and I visited the one they have there and if was nice,I'm looking forward to Augusta having one ,Great job!!!
  • by Jubilate Location: Augusta on Aug 22, 2007 at 04:27 PM
    Right. I can see it now. Another place downtown that gets vandalized and has the few visitors who do show up intimidated by the local trash.
  • by lynn Location: martinez on Aug 22, 2007 at 03:13 PM
    i think a waterway downtown would be a great idea to give the citizens in augusta somewhere to go and do recreational things. we need to be open to new things to make augusta a better more beautiful place.
  • by Susan Location: Aiken SC on Aug 22, 2007 at 03:08 PM
    I think this would give Augusta a much needed boost!! It is about time someone did something to bring revenue and beauty to this much neglected area.
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