Parker’s Kitchen foes lose their fight against Augusta store

Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 3:03 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 19, 2023 at 3:33 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - About 30 people showed up Tuesday’s Augusta Commission meeting to fight the opening of a Parker’s Kitchen, but they lost the battle.

The crowd of opponents claimed to have a 400-person petition in hand, fighting rezoning of 2.54 acres at 3645 Wheeler Road from agricultural to a neighborhood business.

Parker’s Kitchen wants to build a store there – where there’s a McDonald’s, a Walgreens and several other businesses that apparently haven’t drawn this sort of opposition.


The Savannah-based convenience store chain that sells made-from-scratch meals has been expanding locally but has run into some unpredicted opposition in some other places, including Columbia County and Aiken.

Augusta residents have been more somewhat welcoming until now.

Although there was a little discussion about pedestrian safety if a Parker’s Kitchen were built on Gordon Highway, there’s been no opposition to one that’s being built at Windsor Spring and Tobacco roads.

The Wheeler Road store was apparently another matter.

“I’m over there everyday, and it is a nightmare,” said Catherine Smith-McKnight, District 3 Commissioner.

Sharon Kaminer, Hill Creek neighbor, said: “Crime is a concern of neighbors. Convenience stores are known to attract loitering, drug sales in parking lots and even murder.”

The Sept. 19, 2023, meeting of the Augusta Commission drew a relatively large audience.
The Sept. 19, 2023, meeting of the Augusta Commission drew a relatively large audience.(WRDW/WAGT)

Augusta traffic and engineering officials admit the Wheeler Road intersection is already fairly busy, but say they were planning on a traffic study to add two left turns to calm the traffic.

“We’re going to add, instead of a single left turn lane on medical center drive and Augusta West Parkway, we’re going to add a second left turn lane on both of those approaches. So we’re essentially doubling the capacity,” said John Ussery with Augusta Traffic and Engineering.

So despite the 30 or so opponents, the Augusta Commission approved the rezoning 6-1.

Parker’s says the seven months of construction could start in April or May 2024.

Renamings delayed

Also on the agenda was the renaming of the Riverwalk for Edward M. McIntyre.

There has been much back-and-forth on naming the Riverwalk for Augusta’s first Black mayor, the man who started the idea for it.

But he was also convicted of extortion.

At least two people went before the commission to support the renaming, while one spoke against it.

Former Augusta Mayor Edward M. McIntyre
Former Augusta Mayor Edward M. McIntyre(WRDW/WAGT)

Other renamings were also on the agenda. This included naming a baseball field at Diamond Lakes Regional Park for former Commissioner Andy Cheek and the utility building after former Utilities Director Tom Weidemeier.

All the renamings were delayed until the next commission meeting.

Also on the agenda