DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) - The beautiful Radium Springs and Botanical Gardens, one of Georgia's seven natural wonders, could play an integral role in helping restore the heavily damaged neighborhoods surrounding it.
Dougherty County's Commission Chairman Chris Cohilas wants more investment into the unique springs, a place where locals and tourists frequent daily.
It's an attraction that includes walking paths, outdoor exercise equipment as well as the botanical gardens.
It is also a key component of the Flint River Trails Master plan, linking up to the larger public pathway leading to downtown Albany.
But, Cohilas said that continuing to do the restoration will also positively impact reconstruction of the neighborhood, heavily damaged by the January 22, 2017 EF-3 tornado.
"I think it is really important that citizens understand that government gets what happened to them. That they understand that they are valuable assets in our community and that we are willing to stand behind them and put investment where it needs to be to make us a stronger Albany," said Cohilas.
Cohilas said communities that have successfully recovered, even thrived, after major natural disasters do so by improving it's green-space and outdoor living.
Cohilas said regional leaders are currently advocating in Congress for significant investment to make the community stronger and improving green-space and stabilizing neighborhoods are a part of the request for federal dollars.
Earlier this year, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources had a structural engineer investigate the condition of the bridge and the dam at Radium Springs.
Cohilas has reviewed the report, and said that overall the assessment is that Radium Springs is in "pretty good shape" but that it also highlights problems with overgrowth of algae and water-flow.
"What we want to do is also start discussions about the breach that currently exists in the dam, and pursuing discussions long range about how we can make this area closer to what it use to be," explained Cohilas.
Cohilas said Radium Springs is both a state and a community asset that must be protected.
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