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Downtown cleanup efforts funded by businesses, not taxpayers

Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 7:28 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - If you’ve been downtown behind the cones and construction signs, you might have noticed people rolling around green trash cans, wearing green polo shirts and cleaning up Broad Street. What you might not know is who’s footing the bill for downtown cleanup.

The money to beautify downtown isn’t coming from your pocket; no taxpayers are footing this program.

The superhero cleaners don’t wear capes, but are draped in green shirts. But just like how Bruce Wayne footed the bill to “clean up” the streets of Gotham, this cleanup is paid for by private entrepreneurs.

It’s called the ACE Program. Augusta business owners came together and are writing the check for the employees to get to work and beautify. But it goes way beyond simple litter pick-up.

“We work down here and we own property downtown. And it’s important for our city, and for the businesses down here, to have it be clean,” said Alex Wier, ACE vice chair.

“There’s a pressure washer that should be coming where eventually they’re going to be going all the way down, back and forth, to pressure wash. We’re going to talk to individual property owners about removing graffiti,” he said.

And where bad actors are whipping out the spray paint, ACE employees are using the disinfectant and Goo-Gone.

“We hope that through different people’s interests, whether it’s private businesses and things like that, that we can expand the footprint to cover even more ground,” said Wier.

But getting these boots on the ground isn’t coming cheap. We’re told it’s costing about $230,000 to $250,000 a year.

“It’s important for our downtown to be impressive, for all kinds of different economic factors. We just wanted to do something to help move that ball,” he said.

Right now, we’re told they have enough commitments to keep this private effort going for three years and they’re looking forward to working with the city to keep cleanup going long term.

If you’d like to contribute to the ACE program, you can email Lauren Dallas at lauren@augustatomorrow.com.

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