In its heyday, Laney Walker Boulevard was an important hub in Augusta’s downtown area, serving as a major residential and shopping area, primarily for the African American community. Today, Laney Walker/Bethlehem is home to several schools of excellence and is just steps away from superb medical and dental care, neighborhood businesses, churches and cultural and recreational opportunities.
SCHOOLS Of the four public schools located within the Augusta/LW/B core area, three are magnet schools of excellence: C. T. Walker, a K-8 public examination school, is one of only 3 elementary magnet programs throughout all of Augusta-Richmond County and was recognized as a Georgia School of Excellence in 2003. A. R. Johnson High School, a magnet school for health, science, and engineering, has been recognized as a Title I Distinguished School for 2010 – 2011. John S. Davidson, a public school for the fine and performing arts, has been ranked as the #1 school in the state of Georgia and has also placed in the top 100 tier of Newsweek’s “America’s Best High Schools.”
PUBLIC SAFETY The general wisdom is that urban regeneration sees three waves of home-buyers: first the risk-oblivious, then the risk-tolerant, then the risk-averse. Laney Walker/Bethlehem may well be the exception to this rule. The development team, in selecting six priority areas to focus on in LW/B, has deliberately created full-scale construction activity in places that were once particularly blighted. The result has been a 180-degree turnaround. Couple that with ongoing efforts of the neighborhood to work hand-in-hand with law enforcement and you have an area that is being repopulated as fast as it is being rebuilt.
BUSINESSES The community’s vision for Laney Walker/Bethlehem is that it has easy, walkable access to everything a great neighborhood should have: affordable, fresh, nutritious foods, good healthcare, excellent schools, places to socialize, etc. We’re not there yet. However, great schools, superb healthcare, good neighborhood restaurants, a branch library and banking facilities are all nearby. A broad selection of services (fitness, childcare, etc.) and shopping options are available throughout the neighborhood, with a good supermarket a close 3-minute car ride away. And things are moving in a positive direction every month. In fact, Laney Walker/Bethlehem rates a 67 out of 100 on a national walkability index.
CULTURE & RECREATION Located in the heart of Augusta, Laney Walker/Bethlehem is an easy mile to mile-and-a-half from major museums, a vibrant downtown art and music scene, the James Brown Arena, a celebrated arts festival along the Savannah River, and the Augusta Canal trail. Popular Dyess Park offers recreational opportunities and plays host for ceremonies, charity events, and family gatherings. Pocket parks dot the new neighborhood developments, and Pine Street is home to the annual Blocks are Beautiful celebration of community.
HERITAGE TRAIL Laney Walker/Bethlehem is home to a rich African American heritage, and plans are underway for a Heritage Trail that will offer residents and visitors a cultural, educational and recreational experience that pays tribute to the area’s history. This multi-modal trail will link Laney Walker/Bethlehem with the Medical District and Harrisburg to the west, Springfield and Old Town to the east, and historic downtown to the north. Check our Media pages for new information as plans for the Heritage Trail progress.
HEALTH AND WELLNESS Top medical and dental care are within easy reach of Laney Walker/Bethlehem, with Georgia Health Sciences University and its new College of Dental Medicine just next door and Augusta’s Medical District a few blocks away. Nearby Paine College is planning a new wellness center as part of its Health Education Activities Learning (HEAL) Complex. The Laney/Floyd Wellness Center will be centrally located within the Laney Walker neighborhood so that it will be easily accessible by all residents of the community.
CHURCHES AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS Perhaps the first thing that catches your eye in Laney Walker/Bethlehem is the number of churches, some with a grand century-plus tradition, others just simple, localized offerings. And several of these churches – Beulah Grove, Antioch, Tabernacle, to name a few – provide a range of community services (food and clothing banks, medical clinics, after-school education, childcare, etc.). But churches are only a small part of a story about two neighborhoods devoted to community service. New Bethlehem Community Center, the Laney Walker Neighborhood Association, Heritage Pine Neighborhood Association – the list goes on and on. Laney Walker/Bethlehem is very much about giving back to the community.