Augusta could be on the verge of becoming an age-friendly city

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News 12 First at Five / Thursday, June 20, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Some Augusta commissioners are working to make Augusta an age-friendly destination. Leaders say a new partnership with AARP could be good for the whole community.

"How about a more fit-friendly place? When you go to Charleston, people are more fit there," said Augusta resident Mike Hagler.

Hagler and his friends stay in shape by walking the Riverwalk daily. He says the area needs attention.

"Make the Riverwalk look better than it does. Look how disgusting this place is," he said.

City leaders are working to clean it up. They're debating spending around $180,000 on Riverwalk upgrades.

"We talk about age friendly, but we mean all ages," said Georgia AARP Associate Director Karen Cooper.

She told city employees and leaders it would cost them nothing to make Augusta more age friendly. Leaders just need to start improving plans already in the making. Cooper says Augusta needs more bicycle lanes, walking trails, clean public areas and a better public transit system.

"I'm going to follow the lead of Commissioner Bill Lockett," said Commissioner Bill Fennoy.

Lockett is spearheading the campaign and wants to model it after one in Macon.

If leaders approve it, they'll notify AARP. Leaders will create an advisory committee and conduct a survey of people 50 and older.

"Our population is growing older. We need to make sure our seniors are well taken care of," Lockett said.

Lockett says people of all ages want a safe and clean environment.

Augusta commissioners will vote on this issue in the next coming weeks.