This Sunday I am meeting with the Augusta tourism person and other interested locals to discuss increasing tourism and awareness for the town's Civil War history. From that I hope the following might occur:
|Thick black numbers represent current and proposed tour stops|
- Expanded tour to include three additional stops - The current tour is a nine stop affair, easy to walk, with good information on the Battle of Augusta website, but it is missing not only stop by stop directions, but also three additional locations that are part of the story. These three additional stops would be by vehicle. They would be the Baker-Bird Winery (with limited visitation hours), the Cemetery on the Hill (or Hilltop Cemetery), which offers a nice view of the town, is where the Confederates initially setup their artillery, and has the impressive monument for Dr. J.T. Bradford, who commanded the Home Guard. The last stop would be the Confederate monument at the Payne Cemetery, along Kentucky Highway 8. The last three stops could be visited when folks are making their way back out of town.
- Create a group that would work on providing events such as scheduled tours and talks. This could be a group that is organized through the city itself, or a separate non-profit organization, but obtaining the latter has become a far more expensive process in recent years, costing several hundred dollars. For such a group there is a community center in Augusta that could be used for meetings and talks, and it is within the city's purview so cost to rent should be minimal.
- Preservation - Realistically this would be a fairly minor concern, as the fighting took place in town and there is no land to preserve per se. There should be a city ordinance to preserve any building present at the time of the battle, but beyond that, not a lot needs to be considered here.
- Create a brochure for the tour that visitors could download from a website, and that is available in the caboose which serves as the visitor center. When I was in town a few weeks ago I did not see anything for the Civil War tour at the visitor's center.
- Denote the route of the walking tour with some sort of marker to encourage more visitors to take the tour and to create curiosity for those who see the markers.
- Establish partnerships with city businesses that would benefit from increased tourism, such as shops and restaurants.
- Apply for a grant to have a Civil War study completed. This would give additional ideas and direction for increasing tourism.
- Develop interpretive panels for various stops and apply for a grant to pay for their cost.
I am hopeful that Augusta will embrace some of these ideas. More to follow!