Augusta, GA (WJBF) – Robert Gray was entertaining his three nieces at Elliott Park, in Augusta, Monday afternoon. “I stand with them so it isn’t like no one is going to bother them because I’m here. Other than that it’s fine,” he said.
Gray also didn’t have any problems with the maintenance. “It’s nice, it’s very nice,” he said.
But, many in Augusta don’t share those feelings, when it comes to the park system. The Augusta Recreation, Parks, and Facilities Master Plan surveyed more than 600 people on why they didn’t go to the parks.
Thirty-three percent of those responding cited insufficient security as the reason they stayed away. Facilities not being maintained was 32% percent.
Department director Glenn Parker says the brutal assault on Riverwalk, three years ago, is still in people’s minds when they think about the parks, but he adds that since he came on board in November, there have been no major incidents in the parks. “It’s hard for us to go out and just say our parks are safe. For this reason, our users have to buy into that they have to help us spread the word that the parks are safe,” said Parker.
According to city consultants, more than half of city parks are rated in fair or poor condition and a lack of maintenance can make visitors uncomfortable. “Less likely to go and frequent. We like for it to be well kept and clean. Cleanliness is a big issue,” said Brenda Gray, who was also at Elliott Park.
Parker believes it’s true…the lack of park maintenance could be fueling the perception that there is insufficient security at the facilities. The Master Plan did look at the cost of bringing all city parks up to good condition with enhancements. The price tag was a little more than $58 million.