AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – The Augusta Riverwalk is almost back to normal.
After weeks of being flooded, the river levels are low enough for the cleanup to begin. WJBF News Channel 6’s Stefany Bornman has the latest on the efforts to restore the Augusta Riverfront.
The Savannah Riverkeeper, Augusta Recreation, Parks and Facilities and more than 50 volunteers started working bright and early Saturday morning cleaning up debris, trash and clearing the Augusta Riverwalk of built-up mud. The Jessye Norman Amphitheater was underwater from the peaking Savannah River, but now it’s all cleaned up. The severe flooding caused officials to shut down the Augusta Riverwalk for safety concerns.
“When something happens to your community you should step up and clean it up.”Dana Keen, a volunteer, told WJBF News Channel 6 on Saturday.
When volunteers were needed many people jumped at the opportunity to help get their hometown back into shape.
“Our goal today was to get the debris, a lot of logs. It’s a lot of just plant growth that’s coming in out of the river,” said Augusta Recreation, Parks and Facilities Deputy Director Gary Hegner.
The electrical outlets at the Jessye Norman Amphitheater haven’t been tested yet because the area still needs to dry. After some evaluations, minor erosion is really the only noticeable damage. “You know we are going to try to get a cost estimate once we have a better idea. Getting through this weekend and just cleaning things up,” Hegner told WJBF News Channel 6.
When it was built the Augusta Riverwalk wasn’t designed for heavy-duty machines to easily navigate through the walkway, but that didn’t stop anyone on Saturday.
“Unfortunately I got here a little too late. I assumed it was going to be an all day type of cleanup, but there were so many helpers it was pretty much done by 11. So I caught the tail-end of it. Which I was sad I didn’t really get to help but I was glad that there were so many other volunteers that it got done quickly,” Keen said.
Saturday’s progress to recover the Riverwalk, “it’s always green and beautiful,” Keen said, was a huge success.
Crews will be out at the Augusta Riverfront through the weekend and the hope is to re-open the Augusta Riverwalk by next week.