No one would doubt that the Augusta area is a golf Mecca for at least one week of the year.
With a planned investment at Columbia County's Blanchard Woods Park, our county also could be well on its way to attracting major-league attention in other sports, including soccer, lacrosse and cross country running.
Blanchard Woods, which has been open for nearly three years, is an outstanding facility. Its cross country track is recognized as one of the best around, and its soccer fields and stadium are top-notch.
But for reasons that defy explanation - unless the explanation is merely that the county pinched pennies and was short-sighted in the process - the Columbia County Recreation Department-run facility wasn't built with locker rooms for athletes.
You read that right: The park cost around $5 million to build, and included championship-grade facilities, but apparently no one thought to include a place for players to change clothes.
The good news is that officials from the Peach Belt Conference have made a clear case for regional and national events that could come to Blanchard Woods if locker rooms were available. County commissioners are receptive to the idea, and are soon expected to approve spending a little more than $400,000 to build locker rooms with room for expansion at the park.
The money would come from money already in the county's budget for contingencies and facility improvements, and would be well spent.
Just one big collegiate soccer tournament, officials point out, can bring in more than that annually in economic impact to the county - and having those locker rooms is the final ace in the hole for landing a multi-year deal on such tournaments.
The county dropped the ball by not building locker rooms from the start. It's good to see they're now ready to score.
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