Augusta leaders work on a plan to revitalize Sand Hills

Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 6:02 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Blighted buildings, overgrown properties, abandoned homes., and parks where no one is playing.

It’s a story that’s true for several historic Augusta neighborhoods.

We’ve told you about efforts to revitalize the Laney Walker and Harrisburg neighborhoods. Well, the Sand Hills neighborhood is another historic area overrun by blight and outdated structures.

It’s a community right next door to Summerville, and leaders are working on a revitalization plan for Sand Hills.

The Sand Hills project is similar to the Laney Walker revitalization project on a much smaller scale. Instead of tearing down blighted areas, the goal is to bring them back to life.

“It’s a unique community because it is historically one of the only places African Americans could live,” said Jordan Johnson, Augusta Commission member for District 1.

But now, blight has taken over, dulling the once vibrant streets.

“For quite some time now, this neighborhood has not gotten the love that it needs and attention that it needs,” he said.

Johnson pushed for the master update plan to be approved by commissioners this week. He says this all started back with Commissioner Lee Beard in 2004.

“Unfortunately, he passed away, and that plan did not come into fruition,” he said.

It was put on hold, overshadowed by bigger projects like Laney Walker and Harrisburg. But now, Sand Hills will get their own.

The plan calls for street paving and sidewalk maintenance, restoring abandoned parks, getting rid of blighted homes, and refurbishing around 19 business spaces.

Johnson says within the next four to six years, you’ll see consistent progress in the neighborhood.

“This is not a plan that would push folks out and allow gentrification to happen. This is a plan that’s going to be done with neighbors. That’s going to be done with stakeholders. Because at the end of the day, we want Sand Hills to be beautiful because they deserve it,” said Johnson.

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