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Augusta continues Laney Walker revitalization while preserving the history

Published: Apr. 18, 2021 at 11:09 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The efforts to revitalized the Laney Walker/Bethlehem area reached another milestone recently.

“I had the unfortunate opportunity to see the downfall in the area. So now I’m able to be a part of the development and see the community transform back into what it used to be, or even better” said Shanna Carkhum, the development manager with Augusta Housing and Community Development.

Carkhum and HCD has worked on the Laney Walker/Bethlehem revitalization project for years. The Ashley Landing townhomes are just the latest step forward.

“The homes are affordable, 150k and they do provide homebuyer incentives, up to 25k” said Carkhum.

The city started the project in 2008, since then, at least 50 homes have been built in the neighborhood and around 12 million dollars invested.

The project aims to not only build up the community, but also protect its history. The site of Ashley Landing is named after Deacon Ashley, a prominent African American figure who owned a bookstore named Ashley Bookstore.

“Unfortunately we weren’t able to save the original structure, but we pay homage with Ashley Landing” said Carkhum.

The project doesn’t stop with housing, soon they hope to improve the look of Armstrong Galleria, a central shopping center in the area.

“[The plan is] to provide that nice metal awnings, outside seating, outside vegetation’ said Carkhum. “Just a different experience in the Laney Walker/Bethlehem area that we do not have at this moment.”

The goal she says, is to improve the quality of life for Laney Walker residents.

“I would like to see a thriving community“ she said.

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