Augusta city leaders tour parks that could be divested
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WFXG) — Ten parks across the city of Augusta are on a list that the Department of Parks and Recreation has recommended be turned over to the city. Residents living around the parks tell FOX54 they disagree with this proposal.
The idea was originally floated by Director of Parks and Recreation Maurice McDowell at a Commission meeting earlier this year. Thursday’s tour was intended for Commission members to visit the parks and identify opportunities for growth, improvement and change.
Parks recommended for sale:
- Doughty Park
- Boykin Road Park
- Meadowbrook Park
- Sue Reynolds Park
- Bedford Heights Park
- West Vineland Park
- Alexander Barrett Park
- Hickman Park
- Heard Avenue Park
- Pendleton King Park
- BMX park
“There is no possible reason to close this park,” says resident Roger Bellow.
McDowell led Thursday’s tour of the parks and said it was to ensure the Commission is aware of issues surrounding the areas.
“To familiarize commissioners with some of the things that we talked about in terms of divestment in terms of limited resources and what makes sense from an operational perspective,” he says.
McDowell says most of the parks the city is trying to get rid of are rarely used and are near other parks.
Residents of West Vineland Park had signs telling commissioners to save their area. McDowell and his department say this particular park needs a new playground, a remodeled tennis court, and costs the city about $4,000 a year to maintain.
By disposing of certain underused parks. McDowell says the city could then use those resources to add and reinforce larger, busier parks.
“I think the community deserves better amenities in terms of parks and recreation,” he says.
Commissioner Catherine Smith-McKnight told FOX54 she would favor investing in the larger, busier parks.
“What a lot of people don’t understand, today on this tour I got to see firsthand, some of these places that I wouldn’t even call a park,” she says.
Commissioner Dennis Williams says he agrees the city may have to close some parks, but which ones?
“We need to come up with a rating system to help determine which ones should be closed,” Williams says.
No decision on the fate of the parks was made during Thursday’s tour. The Commission will now return to its chambers and discuss how best to allocate the funds.
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