The Chattahoochee Riverwalk's beautification concern

RiverWalk beautification project

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Summer is right around the corner, and rafting season will be attracting more people to the Chattahoochee Riverwalk. While many are starting to exercise and enjoy their time at the Riverwalk, some are saying the area looks unkempt and messy.

"It doesn't look like what it used to be. It feels different," said 64-year-old Maxie Earl. He is from Pine Mountain and he visits the Riverwalk once every two weeks with his friend. The two sit and enjoy the scenery whenever they come to Columbus. However, he said the area looks different today.

"It would make me and other visitors happier if the Riverwalk was taken care of," Earl said. "We come down here, and the buildings are all nice and stuff. Then you expect the Riverwalk to be nice too, then you see weeds, the briars…everything looks unkempt."

While Earl is not the only one concerned about the Riverwalk, Donna Newman, the engineering director with Columbus Engineering Department, said the city will be doing more maintenance to enhance the area.

"We are going into the growing season," Newman said. "The grass just started growing, and in fact, we have been going down there routinely making inspections."

Newman said the city has been  reviewing their contract with their contractor for the past few weeks, because it was coming to an end.

"There is a crew dedicated to the Riverwalk to do maintenance," Newman said. "Some of the damages have been one by the recent floods which was done within the last few weeks. We have photos where the Riverwalk looked good months and even few weeks ago. But spring and summer time is where we have to care for the Riverwalk with extra care."

The maintenance crew will start repairing the vegetation and other parts of the Riverwalk next week.

"Flooding was the problem," Newman said. "We are inspecting and seeing what worked and didn't work. Some things will need to change. For instance, we will need something more hard-shell for the plants so they can withstand the flood and other environmental issues that may rise."

Newman said she makes sure that slope stabilization is good so that the area can have a sturdy form of anchoring. She also said graffiti and drawings in some parts of the Riverwalk are hard to get to.

"We try to erase or fix some of these problems as fast as we can," Newman said. "But somehow someone will always find a way to vandalize. We try to stay alert."

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