Recently I saw downtown Augusta through the eyes of visitors to the city. I left that experience with a deep appreciation for what Augusta leaders have done in revitalizing downtown.
On Feb. 19-23, I sponsored a national conference for teachers and school administrators at the Radisson Hotel Riverwalk. More than 150 educators from 15 states attended. No one made a negative comment to me about their impressions of Augusta.
The Riverwalk was clean. People using the Riverwalk were friendly and courteous. The blooming plants made our visitors from the Northeast envious. Each day individuals returned from lunch at downtown restaurants with only complimentary things to say about the food and service.
No safety concerns were mentioned, even as the participants walked to and from restaurants for dinner after dark and on the weekend.
Each morning, I took the first 15 minutes to do a two-part opening. First, I presented a "mini-lesson" on a historical site in the downtown area. Secondly, I had individuals who visited the site that had been described the previous morning share what they learned.
I was amazed at what they learned that I did not know, because I had not recently visited the sites myself. I had not seen the recent additions to the Morris Museum of Art, had not visited the park across from Springfield Baptist and had not given Gen. James Oglethorpe a close look.
As a native Augustan who is proud of her city, I made a pledge to put the grandchildren in the car on Saturdays and see the city through the eyes of strangers.
Carlene Murphy, Augusta
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