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socaguy

Augusta and environs

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I thought it would be good to start a discussion on the different parts of Augusta and to familiarize the different sections with people who have never been. Augusta is a city of around 190,000 in the a metro of 515,000. The metro area is growing rapidly but the city is slowly declining in population.

1) Augusta proper. This area would be what I consider the old city limits of Augusta before it consolidated with Richmond county. It consists of Downtown Augusta, the Medical district, inner city neighborhood like Old Towne, Laney-Walker, Harrisburg and Summerville, and older suburbs like Forest Hills, Lake Olmstead, Country Club Hills, parts of East Augusta and others. Here you will find a wind range of neighborhoods from the stately Old homes lining Walton Way in Summerville, Mill-hill houses in Harrisburg (which is slowly being gentrified), Projects and shot-gun houses in Laney Walker and East Augusta, and bungalows and stuccos in neighborhoods around Pendleton King Park. Most of the commercial action is along Walton Way in Harrisburg or near the Medical District. Downtown is slowly but surely becoming better, especially along the Riverfront and Broad street where numerous Clubs and cafes have opened in the past decade or so, but there are still areas in dire need of help. Summerville has a few cute commercial nodes and Daniel Village and Surrey Center (both with over 40 shops) are Augusta propers largest shopping centers. Here too youll find Augustas main colleges and universities, (Medical College of Georgia, Augusta State University and Paine College.)

2) South Augusta. This suburban area was probably at its height in the 1960's-70's when the Regency Mall was in full swing. When it first opened in the late 70's, Regency mall was the 2nd biggest mall in Georgia. Now it is left abandoned. There have been numerous proposals on what to do with it but as of yet nothing has panned out. Neighborhoods in South Augusta range from lower to upperclass but the area is predominately lower-middle to middle class. Lots of people from Fort Gordon live in the newer subdivisons around Tobacco road and that area seems to be growing quite nicely. Peach Orchard Road, Gordon Highway and Dean Bridge Road are the heavy commercial avenues here and youll find everything from Lowes to Applebys to Walmart on them. It is not the premier suburban shopping area of the metro but it is adequate and some areas (like Peach Orchard Road), to me, are quite nice, with pretty heavy suburban density. Augusta Regional Airport and Augusta Technical Institute are both big players for the Southern suburbs of the city.

3) East Augusta. This area is perhaps the most overlooked of all areas of Augusta. Alot of it is uninhabited (Phinizy Swamp State Park). Built up areas are mostly projects and semi-rural areas like Beach-Island South Carolina, (where the singer James Brown lives!) This is also Augustas main industrial side.

4) North Augusta. This is actually a city in South Carolina with a population of around 25,000. Downtown North Augusta sits almost directly across from Augustas' Downtown and its riverfront is being developed into a mixed use New urbanist project called Hammonds Ferry. North Augusta has many different neighborhoods and is mostly middle to upper middle class. The main shopping areas are along Martintown Road and Georgia Avenue, as well as Downtown.

5) West Augusta/Martinez. This area is one of Augustas fastest growing areas with a mostly middle to upper middle class base. Big shopping areas along Washinton Road, Wrightsboro Road (Augusta Mall) and Wheeler Road (Augusta Exchange) are booming with new businesses. Here, several new Lifestyle Centers are in the works and suburban office lowrises have popped up around Doctors Hospital and Bobby Jones Expressway. A new spaghetti junction-like interchange for I-20 and I-520 will be built in the next coming years, surely only to clogg traffic even more in this most congested area of the metro.

6) Evans. This area even further west in Columbia County is where all the new humongous houses are going up. It is the fastest growing area of the metro and one of the fastest growing in Georgia. Evans was ranked 32nd best places to live in the USA recently. I guess thats if you like living in a large gated community near sprawly strip malls. One good thing about the area is that they are trying to go for higher denisty development. That can already be seen in several of the new subdivisons that pack the homes right next to each other and the development of Marshall Towne Square, which will be a high density mixed use community of condos, offices and retail. High density for Evans that is. The area is definately upper middle to upper class. Over the past few years several hospitals have built branches in the growing Evans Towne Center area, where the government complexes for Columbia county are located.

There are a number of other areas of the metro like Aiken, Grovetown, Harlem, Midland Valley, etc. but I wont include them since they seem to stand alone.

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Well, I live off of Berckman Road in the Berckman Villas area of Augusta. This is right next to the Augusta National Golf Course where the Masters Tournament is held each spring. Down the street near the intersection of Berckman Road and Wheeler Road is the Sand Hill Neighborhood. This is the only real lower income area in West Augusta but parts of it are slowly being fixed up. Also at this intersection is Surrey Center. To the east of this is Augusta Country Club which is a very beautiful part of Augusta. Also nearby is Westover Memorial Park Cemetery which is one of the cities oldest. Farther to the south off of Wrightsboro road is Daniel Field which hosts the Boshers Skyfest Airshow each summer.

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I live in Walton Acres which is in the South Augusta/Hephzibah area. It's very quiet around here and two new elementary songs are going up around here. Our neighbor hood is steadily building houses so theres a good bit of growth.

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