If you’ve been around the Augusta area long, you’ve probably heard a news story or two about Cherry Tree Crossing, The Augusta Housing Authority Complex off of 15th street, just past the GRU/MCG campus. Those stories probably painted a picture of a blighted neighborhood, infested with gangs, guns and drugs, right?
Nobody’s going to argue that Cherry Tree didn’t have its share of problems, but the view from the outside (read that “media coverage”) was a good bit different from that of the residents. Along with the knuckleheads running around with sagging pants and pistols, there were also children playing in courtyards and grandmas sitting on stoops; parents who went to work every day, and teenagers committed to completing high school and going on to college.
The “inside stories” weren’t often told, and that is the reason for The Cherry Tree Listening Project. It’s a multi-part series, produced by GPB-Augusta in collaboration with The Greater Augusta Arts Council. It airs weekdays in May during “Morning Edition” at 7:35a.m. and during “All Things Considered” at 5:44p.m. on 90.7FM WACG/GPB-Augusta. Scroll down to view the video trailer below.
Can you imagine a neighborhood-wide water fight with everyone from 3 years old to 80-years old participating? It happened in Cherry Tree. On the other side, can you imagine having your children sleep on the floor for fear that a stray bullet would come through their bedroom window? That happened in Cherry Tree, too.
Cherry Tree Crossing is being torn down. In a few years a new mixed-income apartment complex will stand in its place. But long after the buildings are gone, the stories of those who called Cherry Tree home will remain, told in their own voices, in the annals of The Cherry Tree Listening Project.