Fort Gordon officials Thursday disavowed a connection with Augusta on Ice, the ice skating rink and holiday festival slated to occupy Augusta Common from Nov. 17 to Jan. 6.
“Although Fort Gordon was approached by one of the organizers, Mrs. Boerner, we never received a formal written request as required by the Department of the Army policy,” said Buz Yarnell with Fort Gordon media relations.
“Fort Gordon is unable to provide support to this event within the guidelines of the Joint Ethics Regulation and after legal review by the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate,” the statement from Yarnell said.
On Tuesday, Christine Boerner listed Fort Gordon as one of several community partners that organizers will include in daily programming during the festival, just before the Augusta Commission voted to waive rent and fees for the event downtown.
The detail was one of several Boerner presented as the commission appeared to snatch the festival from Columbia County, where Boerner had been under contract for several months to operate a similar holiday event at Evans Towne Center Park. Columbia County officials on Wednesday agreed to part ways with Boerner.
The Augusta Commission voted in favor of the arrangement but its details have not been formalized in a legal document.
Since Boerner hadn’t made a formal request to the post, Fort Gordon will provide no “official troop support” to the festival’s Nov. 18 “Military Day,” nor is there a contract in place for the Fort Gordon Christmas House to receive any percentage of donations raised at the event, Fort Gordon public affairs official Geralyn Smith Noah said.
On Thursday, language on the Augusta on Ice website stating the Nov. 18 “Military Day” will benefit the Fort Gordon Christmas House was removed.
Boerner issued a statement Thursday saying Nov. 18 will feature “special entertainment programming” for military members and announced a military discount throughout the festival.
“During these uncertain times, it gives Augusta on Ice great pleasure to honor and offer a 25 percent discount to all branches of the military every single day the festival is open,” Boerner said.