Augusta OKs $2.8 million from Rescue Plan for clean-up, Riverwalk, youth program

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Augusta Parks and Recreation will gain $500,000 for maintenance and repairs to the Augusta Riverwalk, which runs from Sixth to 10th streets along the Savannah River.
Augusta Parks and Recreation will gain $500,000 for maintenance and repairs to the Augusta Riverwalk, which runs from Sixth to 10th streets along the Savannah River.

City rights-of-way, the Riverwalk and Augusta Boxing Club received an infusion of American Rescue Plan Act funds Thursday.

For a program called Quick Strike as well as the boxing club, the Augusta Commission approved a combined $2.8 million from the city's remaining COVID-19 relief funds, bringing the balance to around $8 million.

The funds include:

  • $1 million for Augusta Engineering to increase grass cutting to every four weeks and add irrigation to improve the landscapes along major thoroughfares such as Laney Walker Boulevard, East Boundary Street, Gordon Highway and Windsor Spring Road, Interim Administrator Takiyah Douse said.

  • $500,000 for the Augusta Downtown Development Authority to extend its contract with a litter and pressure-washing crew for two years. The program, called ACE, maintains the Broad Street rights-of-way between Fifth and 15th streets and along Jones and Ellis streets.

  • $500,000 for Augusta Parks and Recreation to make repairs and perform maintenance at the Riverwalk.

  • $500,000 for Augusta Engineering to add a crew and buy equipment to address illegal dumping sites, including waste from homeless encampments, Douse said. None of the money goes to the Richmond County Marshal's Office, which enforces the illegal dumping ordinance.

  • $300,000 for Augusta Boxing Club. Leonard Pulley, chairman of the club's board of directors, said the funds will cover debt and lost revenue incurred by the club during the pandemic as well as expand the program, which is free to kids who can't afford it but $50 a month otherwise.

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Commissioner John Clarke motioned to raise the boxing club's grant from $200,000 to $300,000. Commissioner Catherine Smith McKnight, who seconded the motion, said the Walton Way club "helps get kids off the streets and gives them something to focus on."

Commissioner Jordan Johnson said after the meeting he was concerned Augusta is spending the Rescue Plan funds haphazardly and will propose a process for entities to request them.

"I really think there ought to be a process that entities have to adhere to in order to receive funding from the city," he said.

This article originally appeared on Augusta Chronicle: Augusta Commission OKs $2.8 million for Riverwalk, maintenance, boxing