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So long, casino
October 28, 2003
- The venerable Radium Springs
Casino's obituary has been written for awhile, but the
structure is officially coming down.
ALBANY — Demolition equipment moved in for the kill in
recent days and began its task this week of tearing apart Radium
pile of aromatic heart pine support boards and brightly colored
insulation was all that was left of much of the building
Tuesday, when workers spent half the work day in the effort.
But the 76-year-old building's fate had already been decided
in 2000, when the owner sold the building to Dougherty County.
Federal agencies provided money to purchase the property and
remove or destroy buildings on the site.
"It's a sad-looking sight," said Michael Johnson, who lives
in the Radium Springs neighborhood and was involved in efforts
to have one of Southwest Georgia's most famous landmarks spared.
"You see what happens to our history. I just think the whole
community ought to be grieving, because it won't be replaced."
Johnson, 62, said that political figures from the local level
to Congress failed in helping save the building. He said the
Radium Springs Preservation and Development Group perhaps could
have done more.
"You can only fight things so long," he said. "We devoted a
lot of time to it."
The last glimmer of hope, a request by the Dougherty County
Commission for an extension on the Dec. 31 date to close out
demolition, was denied by the Federal Emergency Management
Last year, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources bought
85 acres of timberland, the springs and Radium Springs Creek
from Skywater Properties, but there is no money budgeted for
planned projects, Russ Ober, regulations supervisor for the
agency's Fisheries Management office, said Tuesday.
Ober hopes the community will pitch in for clean up of the
property he said has had little upkeep in several years.
"What we feel like we can do is use it for striped bass
management and hopefully hold some kids fishing tournaments
there this year," he said during a Tuesday visit to the springs.
"There's going to be a little bit of mourning, then I hope folks
will come in and volunteer to help."
There is no money in the state budget for the springs in the
2003 budget and it will not be in next year's budget, Ober said.
"Right now it's all up in the air," he said. "With the budget
crunch we don't have the funds to do anything."
The spring is the southern terminus of a trail that will
begin at the Parks at Chehaw and is part of the Albany Downtown
Riverfront Master Plan.
Ober hopes that the spring can be a natural learning
environment for students from all over Southwest Georgia to
study an aquifer system, and Chehaw is interested in working
with the state on the project.
Photographed during the
Buster Wasden, Class of '55
Photographed after the
Adair Mellichamp, Class of '54
Photographed previous to the
Al Higginbotham, Class of
Pictures taken January 27,
Jimmy Holland, Class of '58
January 26, 2003
Brinson Phillips, Class of