Project Jackson vote expected in 'next few weeks'

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Nearly two months after North Augusta officials presented the Aiken County school board with a new financial model for a riverfront development proposal that includes a baseball stadium, Mayor Lark Jones says a vote is expected “within the next few weeks.”

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The plan submitted May 14 cut the school board’s participation time in half and avoids using board money to fund a stadium for the Au­gusta Green­Jackets.

The city will now try to gain votes of approval from the school board, then the Aiken County Council.

After a meeting Tuesday, the school board will meet again in August, said Kim Chris­­well, the administrative secretary for the Aiken Coun­ty school district’s deputy superintendent.

“By the end of summer, if both agree to participate in the (Tax Increment Financing district), then you start moving forward with the nuts and bolts of planning, how to handle parking – all of those kinds of things,” Jones said.

The proposal, dubbed Pro­ject Jackson, also includes a proposed 200-room resort-style hotel and conference center, numerous restaurants, office and retail space, and apartments and townhouses. A parking garage would be built next to the stadium, which would adjoin Hammond’s Ferry on the riverbank.

The plan still includes using a TIF district to fund the project over the next 30 years. The model allows North Augusta to collect property taxes through the TIF district. The city would get tax revenue on the incremental difference between rising property values and values for Aiken County, which would remain frozen at 1996 levels for 30 years.

The new model includes a way for the school board to exit the tax district after 15 years, while the city and county would remain.

“They don’t have the same level of participation,” Jones said. “They were able to do that and still make the numbers work.”

Jeff Eiseman, the president of Agon Sports & Enter­tain­ment, which owns the Green­Jackets, said the tax district should be viewed as a positive for development.

“Sometimes when they hear TIF district, they assume it’s tax; it’s tax created from improvement,” he said. “People make the assumption it’s moving bucket to bucket, but it’s money that wouldn’t exist without a project. A TIF exists to encourage development.”

The new GreenJackets ownership offered an additional $2 million toward the project.

“Some don’t realize how much this would benefit the community,” Eiseman said. “It’s something successful; it’s entertainment for the CSRA. It goes well beyond a baseball stadium. Sometimes that’s missed.”

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corgimom
32209
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corgimom 07/14/13 - 08:59 pm
5
2
Please, North Augusta

Please, North Augusta leaders, the reason why all of us moved to North Augusta is because it wasn't like Augusta.

Please don't turn it into another Augusta.

Little Lamb
45869
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Little Lamb 07/14/13 - 09:38 pm
5
0
Hold on to your wallets, North Augusta citizens!

It would be good if North Augusta citizens told their council representatives to nix the ballpark and tell the hotel developers to get their own financing from the banks, like honest businesspeople used to do.

And does North Augusta need a multimillion-dollar parking deck? Heck, no!

dwb619
93259
Points
dwb619 07/15/13 - 11:13 am
4
1
parking deck

That's fantastic. When I was a teenager( in the 60's), we either had to go to Belvedere or behind Gregory's Lake to "park".

triscuit
3078
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triscuit 07/14/13 - 11:25 pm
5
0
If I had shelled out the

If I had shelled out the money to move to Hammonds Ferry or River North, I would not want all this plopped down in my midst no matter who was paying for it!

Augustaisdying
526
Points
Augustaisdying 07/15/13 - 03:09 am
0
3
If you build it,
Unpublished

it will flood. Levee, perhaps? Hammond Ferry won't be an issue, as the morons live on a flood plain, and will be washed out at some point.

Riverman1
83654
Points
Riverman1 07/15/13 - 04:55 am
2
3
It will happen

It will happen. When the South Carolina folks bought the Greenjackets that sealed the deal the team would be moving to N. Augusta.

etlinks
20743
Points
etlinks 07/15/13 - 06:25 am
5
0
The city will now try to gain

The city will now try to gain votes of approval from the school board, then the Aiken County Council. How about votes from the citizens of NA and Aiken county. I would be interested to see for and against numbers from the people who pay the taxes.

Beattybugs
426
Points
Beattybugs 07/15/13 - 11:13 am
3
0
Who is Agon Group?

The mayor and city council of North Augusta owe it to the citizens of North Augusta and to the Aiken County School Board and the Aiken County Council to reveal the names of the investors in Agon Group.

It should be eye opening to learn just who Agon Group is and why we are being asked to subsidize them. Look up corporate welfare - - it's one of the biggest scams being foisted on communities all across America.

Democracy doesn't keep secrets from its citizens, so why are you Mr. Mayor and City Council?

Little Lamb
45869
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Little Lamb 07/15/13 - 08:15 am
5
0
Principle

Beattybugs, you can make a case on principle that North Augusta and Aiken County citizens should not subsidize Agon Group no matter who the investors are. Let Agon Group get its funding from bankers and investors and not from the taxpayers.

Beattybugs
426
Points
Beattybugs 07/15/13 - 08:26 am
3
0
Little Lamb you are so right!

Little Lamb,

Yes, no matter who the investors are, it doesn't matter.

Get thee to a bank, Agon Group!

Go away.

Riverman1
83654
Points
Riverman1 07/15/13 - 09:13 am
1
0
Correct me if I'm wrong, but

Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't they saying they only want a tax break on the new taxes they will generate?

jamc1103
136
Points
jamc1103 07/15/13 - 09:44 am
0
1
Anyone who moved to Hammond Ferry.....

and didn't think any type of commercial development could happen on the riverfront next to them were foolish. If the zoning for this property allows for hotel/retail/entertainment development, then they have no place fighting against. I actually think this development is a great idea. I don't necessarily agree with the funding. But think about the potential here. One could live, work and play all within walking distance of each other. This is what younger families are looking for when deciding where to live.

Beattybugs
426
Points
Beattybugs 07/15/13 - 12:50 pm
5
0
Hammond's Ferry and River Club welcomed commercial development!

But not an ugly, outsized, jammed in baseball stadium that will destroy the whole character of the riverfront.
Better get to the brick ponds while they are still a wildlife preserve.
The joy of seeing cormorants, egrets, heron, alligators, even the occasional wood stork will be gone when and if this madness comes to pass.

my.voice
4808
Points
my.voice 07/15/13 - 10:25 am
3
0
North Augusta: What will you

North Augusta:
What will you do when the GJ go belly up or decide to leave (which, eventually, they will)?

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