During the boat tour on Friday, Brooke and I learned that efforts are being made to clean up the Canal at the so-called “third level”, deep in downtown Augusta. The idea is to attract tourists to the area. In related news, the Harrisburg neighborhood, near Chafee Park on Broad Street and adjacent to the third level of the Canal, is set to see its own revitalization effort, thanks to money bequeathed by McDonald’s heiress Joan Kroc to the Salvation Army. If $5 million can be raised locally, $15 million will then hopefully be awarded to Augusta for the construction of a new “campus-like community center” in the Chafee Park area.
Interim mayor Willie Mays has indicated that this is a move to fight homelessness. Downtown Augusta has quite a few people living on the street; once, when I was taking a picture of a neglected garden on Broad Street (supposedly the responsibility of the tenants of the Lamar building), an apparently homeless man lying on a bench nearby yelled at me not to take his picture. Homelessness is definitely a problem. I don’t know what the solution is, but I wish city officials luck with this plan. I’m a fan of any downtown/community revitalization effort.