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Old 01-27-2009, 02:04 PM
42 posts, read 119,571 times
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What did Savannah do right and Augusta do wrong as far as having an attrractive and lively downtown? Was it the poor city leadership of Augusta? What was it?
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Old 01-27-2009, 02:25 PM
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well one thing that hurt Augusta was the devastating fire in 1916.. that destroyed many historic buildings in downtown..Savannah on the other hand has managed to preserve more of its history. Savannah got on the historic preservation bandwagaon very early...creating one of the largest historic districts in the country. Augusta is just now rediscovering its downtown..so its about 35 years behind Savannah in regards to downtown revitalization. Savannah, being a coastal city, is also just more naturally a tourist destination.
Augusta does have a rather awkward downtown area... being essentially one long main strip.. with a very wide main street. Downtown Augusta needs much better lighting. Savannah is more compact and walkable and the squares nicely break up the space and give the downtown area character.
Augusta has the population to have a thriving downtown, and I see it moving in that direction, albeit very slowly...people just have to say that they value a vibrant downtown and then patronize businesses there or even move there. Augusta is never going to be like Savannah... the cities are just too different. I think a better model for Augusta to follow is Greenville, SC or Chattanooga, TN.
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Old 01-28-2009, 09:38 AM
Location: South Carolina
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What Savannah did right was incorporate a lot of park space/green space in the downtown area in the middle of nice residences and make it all walkable. Except for the availability and variety of restaurants, Augusta's riverwalk is much better than Savannah's. But the people living in the vicinity of downtown Savannah are more upscale people because of the pedestrian connections between homes and park space (combined with architecture) appeal to a more middle and upper economic class person.

The only parks in the downtown area are Springfield Village Park (which has no residences around it), the Augusta Common (which also has no residences around it) Dyess Park (which has residences but not so much middle or upper class) and May Park (which is in the hood).

If they could turn the Augusta Canal in the downtown section into a Canal Walk with public pedestrian access and with condos (or live/work units) fronting the Walk, that would help tremendously. It's difficult to go back and infill green squares in Augusta of the sort Savannah has, but if that could somehow be done like it was for the Augusta Common, and mid to upscale condos or even some SFHs be built around it, that would transform downtown Augusta.

Lilmusket mentions Greenville, SC and Chattanooga, TN. Greenville developed the Falls on the Reedy Park, which connects to a riverwalk and has built mid to upper scale condos, and you can walk to and fro. Chattanooga has their Tennessee River Park and Coolidge Park, but has run a nice greenway with even a pedestrian bridge across the river which was converted from a defunct automobile bridge. And they have built condos downtown too. And you can walk to and fro. To attract middle and upper class money downtown, you've got to have residences in proximity to enjoyable green space and make it all easily accessible to the pedestrian. Then people will move there and then retail will have a foundational customer base for weeknights which will automatically add to the weekend customer base. Savannah did that from the start.
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