Augusta and North Augusta team up to save the pool

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Tuesday, March 5, 2019
News 12 at 11

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The Army Corps of Engineers prepares to meet the public tomorrow as their drawdown of the Savannah River upset neighbors and local leaders on both sides of the river.

Now, there's a new partnership between Augusta and North Augusta to help fight for the one thing that ties the river region together.

Both cities have now both voted to hire a consultant who may bring a new way to deal with this.

Mike Guthrie lives in Goodale Landing, a community right on the river and he owns a boat.

"I would say the main thing we moved here for was the water access," said Guthrie.

He's happy to see the water higher than it was but knows, if the community doesn't speak up, living creek side might become permanent.

"You gotta come up with a plan that keeps the pool level at what we are used to. The river is our backyard," said Guthrie.

To Guthrie and North Augusta State Rep Bill Hixon, it seems like no one has questioned the Army Corps of Engineers.

"Now that you come into our backyard and show us what things are really going to look like I think that set home with some people," said Hixon.

Both Augusta and North Augusta now want Cranston Engineering, a local firm, to conduct their own study to see what's best for river levels and fish life.

Hixon says South Carolina is entering the fight.

"Our future is a development of both towns on that river," said Hixon.

He's already met with Governor Henry McMaster, AG Alan Wilson, and many more over the last week to bring South Carolina into the fold. He says they don't like the corps plan either.

"We're gonna be able to prove that individuals or private companies can do this construction cheaper than what the corps is proposing," said Hixon.

Neighbors like Guthrie say finally.

"Bringing a third party in, you know, who isn't affiliated with the corps, or the Riverkeeper, or anything like that, you're probably going to get a different opinion. I think we're really going to be able to get their attention instead of being split," said Hixon.

The Army Corps of Engineers will be holding a workshop tomorrow to hear from the community on the future of the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam tomorrow at the Marriot downtown from 4-6 p.m.

The corps has already extended the 30-day window for public comments to 60 days, up to April 16th at the request of both cities.

Hixon tells News 12 they are going to use that extra 30 days to their full advantage to figure out exactly how they want to keep the fight going for the river.