Nature lovers consider lying in front of bulldozers to stop rive - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Nature lovers consider lying in front of bulldozers to stop riverfront development

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Wade Gassman has been taking pictures of wildlife in North Augusta's Brick Pond Park for five years.

But he's worried the birds, turtles, alligators and deer he's photographed will be forced away from their homes.

There are plans to build a stadium, hotel, boutiques and restaurants between the Savannah River and Brick Pond Park.

Gassman is worried that bringing in a lot of people and buildings could push out the wildlife.

"I am almost certain that if you destroy that area by cutting down the trees and putting shops and things in there, much less a stadium, than it will completely alter, much less destroy the wildlife habitat," said Gassman.

Gassman isn't the only one concerned the wetland habitat may be turned into just another park.  

John Trok said, "Anytime you have major developments around an area and then it brings in new people, I'll be honest with you, I think it will chase some of the wildlife out of here." 

"I guess I'll have to go down to Florida if it gets too bad," said Casey Szocinski.

But other people, such as Brittany Carter are anxious to see the new city center come to the riverfront.

"I'm excited about the shopping and the new restaurants," Carter, said.  

City leaders say construction on the multi-million dollar development could start this summer; they aim to have everything completed by 2015.

Although construction is still a ways off, Gassman says he may pull out the stops to protect the wetland.

"I guess I'm too old to lie on the street in front of bulldozers anymore. But push come to shove I might be willing to do that to save the park," Gassman, said.

Gassman tells Fox54 he is planning to create a Facebook page called "Friends of the Brick Pond Park" soon, so people will have a place to voice their concerns.

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