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Aiken County school board set for vote Tuesday on Project Jackson

Friday, Aug 9, 2013 6:06 PM
Last updated Saturday, Aug 10, 2013 1:55 AM
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A proposed $150 million development on the North Augusta riverfront hinges on a vote Tuesday by the Aiken County school board.

The board is scheduled to vote on a revised North Augusta Tax Incremental Financing, or TIF, district to fund the project for the next 30 years. Several months of negotiations led to an amended plan that would allow the school board to exit the TIF after 15 years and avoid using its money to fund construction of a baseball stadium.

North Augusta Administrator Todd Glover said the extra months of negotiations allowed project leaders to rework the proposal after concerns surfaced with funding methods for Project Jackson, which includes a stadium, parking deck and conference center near Hammond’s Ferry.

“We listened to what the school board had to say and incorporated that into the plan,” Glover said. “Hopefully, that will be enough to garner their support.”

In May, North Augusta city officials offered a new financial model to the school board. The model allows North Augusta to collect property taxes through the TIF district – meaning it would get tax revenue on the incremental difference between rising Aiken County property values and values frozen at 1996 levels for 30 years.

The previous plan counted on 20 percent of financing to come from the school board, while the amended plan calls for 11 percent.

School board member Ray Fleming said the amendment reflected the board’s requests, but he would not speculate on the outcome of Tuesday’s vote. He said discussions with city officials have been positive, adding that the board will take into consideration public opinion, which has been mixed on the issue.

“The board has been very diligent in looking at all aspects of this TIF,” Fleming said. “We’ve done our homework.”

Glover said Project Jackson faces an uphill battle if the school board denies the TIF. Moving forward to make the proposal a reality would be “very difficult” without the school board’s approval, he said.

Approval is also required from the Aiken County Council, which denied the original TIF proposal in March.

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Gage Creed
19385
Points
Gage Creed 08/09/13 - 06:52 pm
7
0
Run Forrest...RUN

Run Forrest...RUN

LocalGirl
317
Points
LocalGirl 08/09/13 - 10:09 pm
8
0
No, Please!

Please don't bring that mess to North Augusta!

Riverman1
93347
Points
Riverman1 08/10/13 - 03:44 am
4
1
Olmstead to ASU

If this happens, one good thing is ASU get's a great baseball stadium.

etlinks
24307
Points
etlinks 08/10/13 - 06:01 am
6
0
Do the citizens really won't this?

"adding that the board will take into consideration public opinion, which has been mixed on the issue."Let the citizens of Aiken county vote on this project and see where the people stand before the Aiken county school board votes.But no the people that pay the taxes don't count.

Beattybugs
426
Points
Beattybugs 08/10/13 - 06:59 am
5
0
Now is the time for all good Aiken County Taxpayers to speak up!

"Glover said Project Jackson faces an uphill battle if the school board denies the TIF. Moving forward to make the proposal a reality would be “very difficult” without the school board’s approval, he said."

Yes, it would be so very difficult for the very wealthy developers/ investors who want the taxpayers to finance their project.

Aiken County taxpayers shouldn't waste another minute in communicating to their school board and county council members how they feel about being used by a group of wealthy investors/ developers who have not been able to produce a single study that a baseball stadium will in fact be a financially sound investment.

seenitB4
97026
Points
seenitB4 08/10/13 - 07:06 am
0
1
Where

Where is Arthur Blank when you need him?

TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 08/10/13 - 07:40 am
0
0
I have mixed feelings about
Unpublished

I have mixed feelings about putting this development down there- It's going to cause additional traffic through residential areas, more than likely raise property values and taxes associated with them. Also- I completely disagree with anything tied to a school system to pay for something that should be a private development. I have a N.A. address, but a couple houses outside the city - Go ahead and ask Aiken County residents if they want this to happen... I know what I'll say.

...point to ponder
779
Points
...point to ponder 08/10/13 - 08:26 am
0
2
...poor Augusta leadership

For this stadium even to talking about going across the river is a poor reflection on the leadership in Augusta, Ga.

Those involved causing Cal Ripken to exit the market in the first place is a reflection of poor leadership in our marble palace.

The lack of proper decision making shows a total lack of understanding of economics and growth of the downtown Augusta market. *For some to believe/ spin that the stadium across the river will help our Ga side of the river is just grave absurdity!

augustahistorybuff
49
Points
augustahistorybuff 08/10/13 - 08:48 am
0
0
If this doesn't go through,

If this doesn't go through, the Augusta area will lose baseball. After a conversation at the GreenJackets game, looks like two to three seasons, and if nothing has happened with a stadium, the owners will move the team. Goes along with Ripken selling too!

agustinian
723
Points
agustinian 08/10/13 - 09:55 am
2
0
Those Tears You See

Those tears you see when the GreenJackets leave town to beggar another city to pay for their stadium will be crocodile ones indeed.

Little Lamb
48903
Points
Little Lamb 08/10/13 - 10:35 am
3
0
Tyranny

In the old days, if a city government wanted to build a large project such as this, they would have to have a bond referendum, and the citizens would decide. Now, with these new-fangled TIFs and "enterprize zones" the politicians run the show and the citizens don't matter.

You can bet that the initial objectors have been paid off, the votes have already been counted, and this is a done deal.

Riverman1
93347
Points
Riverman1 08/10/13 - 10:47 am
4
0
False Authority

“After a conversation at the GreenJackets game, looks like two to three seasons, and if nothing has happened with a stadium, the owners will move the team.”

That’s called appealing to a false authority. The idea that we should believe what an unknown person says means nothing. You have to first establish the reliability of the source. The people you talked with may or may not be credible and reliable authorities. Because you believe them doesn’t give us reason to or establish their veracity. The other person may have been a guy sneakily pouring liquor from a pint bottle into his Coke sitting next to you for all we know.

my.voice
5163
Points
my.voice 08/10/13 - 11:10 am
6
0
North Augusta - You will rue

North Augusta - You will rue the day should you approve this. Baseball stadiums aren't "new" in perpetuity. Hard to put anything inside a vacant baseball stadium. Don't ruin your riverfront with this mess.

Riverman1
93347
Points
Riverman1 08/10/13 - 11:27 am
2
0
Aiken County Owners

I'd imagine if the owners are Aiken County folks, the team will stay. The Aiken owners are also why I think the stadium is a done deal. But if the team were sold and moved, I'd guess an independent league team would jump at the chance to move in. I'm not supporting or not supporting the stadium, but just saying...

Little Lamb
48903
Points
Little Lamb 08/10/13 - 01:00 pm
3
0
There's got to be something better . . .

A minor league baseball stadium sits dark and cold most days and nights of the year. Something prettier, something better, something more functional could occupy that land.

Little Lamb
48903
Points
Little Lamb 08/10/13 - 01:07 pm
2
1
Gladiators

Occasional poster ...point to ponder made this observation:

The lack of proper decision making [by the Augusta commission -- LL] shows a total lack of understanding of economics and growth of the downtown Augusta market.

Do you think the gladiator fights (with Christians against the Lions as halftime entertainment) were responsible for the growth of the downtown Rome market?

dpatt.marine1
71
Points
dpatt.marine1 08/10/13 - 01:08 pm
1
0
With the growth of Georgia

With the growth of Georgia Regents, the state and school should expand and build a new baseball field and other athletic facilities near the Aquatic center on Damascus Rd. The Greenjackets could utilize their facility.

etlinks
24307
Points
etlinks 08/10/13 - 02:31 pm
3
0
Last words.

Hotel,shops and good restaurants ok, stadium not ok and I love baseball. Hope the school board takes the whole county of Aiken in consideration and makes the correct decision.

Little Lamb
48903
Points
Little Lamb 08/10/13 - 05:09 pm
1
3
Done Deal

Unlike Deke Copenhaver, who lets anybody put anything on the agenda because he (Deke) has no skin in the game; North Augusta Mayor Lark Jones runs a more efficient ship. The wheeling and dealing is done in back rooms. The payoffs have been made and the alliances cemented. The vote Tuesday is a formality.

corgimom
38281
Points
corgimom 08/10/13 - 08:01 pm
3
0
I hope it's defeated soundly!

I hope it's defeated soundly!

corgimom
38281
Points
corgimom 08/10/13 - 08:02 pm
2
0
"After a conversation at the

"After a conversation at the GreenJackets game, looks like two to three seasons, and if nothing has happened with a stadium, the owners will move the team."

And Augusta would be JUST FINE!

Beattybugs
426
Points
Beattybugs 08/10/13 - 08:12 pm
4
0
I'm afraid you are right, Little Lamb.

"The wheeling and dealing is done in back rooms. The payoffs have been made and the alliances cemented. The vote Tuesday is a formality."

There is something rotten in North Augusta.
Little by little it is increasingly clear that this whole project is not on the up and up.

Beattybugs
426
Points
Beattybugs 08/11/13 - 08:38 am
4
0
Letter from Steve Donohue in response to proponents

Mr. Glover and the Mayor Jones and other proponents of this boondoggle keep patronizing the voters by claiming that "it isn't easy" to understand TIF's and that no one's taxes will go up.

That is wrong. People, structures, and human activity bring demands on local government. Demands for police, schools, courts, building inspections, environmental enforcement, and so on. This huge influx of buildings and people will not pay a dime to run government yet they will burden government for those services. Who will carry that extra burden, the current taxpayers will. All the taxes generated by the development will be sucked up into a baseball stadium in an area that is not big enough to accommodate it, an area that is environmentally sensitive, for minor league baseball which all the research shows does nothing to add to the economy and in most cases is a negative.

We get it, and the city should quit telling people they just don't understand.

The area had a development plan with more housing, and more commercial space than Project Jackson that would have paid taxes to run the government, instead that is all sucked up into an ugly baseball stadium.

I would hope we could tell the whole story, not just the patronizing story the city and the baseball investors are peddling.

Thank you,

Steve Donohue
President
River Club HOA
(803) 442-7175

TruthJusticeFaithHope
244
Points
TruthJusticeFaithHope 08/11/13 - 11:55 am
3
0
Please Help Aiken County School Board to vote NO !

Please Help Aiken County School Board to vote NO !
We don't want it... It is a bad plan, it is questionably legal TIF strategy,
The team is not signed to an agreement or contract, it will be an ugly growth on the beautiful Aiken County Savannah River bank, it will be an environmental nightmare... the project has been shoved down residents throats with no public input, and it smells dirty.
Please ask them to vote NO !
Aiken County School Board:
Mrs. Rosemary English
896 Lincoln Avenue N.W.
Aiken, SC 29801
(803) 648-1126

Mr. Ray Fleming
1006 Roble Drive
North Augusta, SC 29841
(803) 279-5001

Mr. Tad Barber
334 Walker Avenue
Aiken, SC 29801
(803) 641-1042

Mr. Keith Liner
113 Knotty Pine Drive
North Augusta, SC 29841
(803) 279-0238

Mr. Richard Hazen
124 Waters Edge Drive
Aiken, SC 29803
(803) 642-6629

Mr. Dwight Smith
262 Hillman Street
Warrenville, SC 29851
(803) 663-1954

Mr. John Wesley Hightower
P.O. Box 985
Bath, SC 29816
Tel: (803) 593-4684 or (803) 593-2323
Fax: (803) 593-2435

Mr. Levi Green
2986 Silver Bluff Road
Aiken, SC 29803
(803) 652-7462

Mr. Ronnie West
894 Seivern Road
Wagener, SC 29164
803-564-6016

badmoon426
1187
Points
badmoon426 08/11/13 - 04:01 pm
2
0
Arthur Blank to the rescue...

...I think not.

In the end Arthur Bank is not really funding the new Falcon Stadium. It is the people of metro Atlanta and the state of Georgia. Actually, Arthur Blank is putting 'up' very little of his own money.

But in talking about 'Project Jackson', why put money into what at best is a crap game gamble and any funds could be better spent on areas of need like education for children?

Beattybugs
426
Points
Beattybugs 08/11/13 - 07:20 pm
2
0
Aiken County School Board Member's email addresses

Aiken County School Board:
Mrs. Rosemary English
896 Lincoln Avenue N.W.
Aiken, SC 29801
(803) 648-1126
renglish@aiken.k12.sc.us

Mr. Ray Fleming
1006 Roble Drive
North Augusta, SC 29841
(803) 279-5001
fleming@aiken.k12.sc.us

Mr. Tad Barber
334 Walker Avenue
Aiken, SC 29801
(803) 641-1042
tbarber@aiken.k12.sc.us

Mr. Keith Liner
113 Knotty Pine Drive
North Augusta, SC 29841
(803) 279-0238
kliner@aiken.k12.sc.us

Mr. Richard Hazen
124 Waters Edge Drive
Aiken, SC 29803
(803) 642-6629
rhazen@aiken.k12.sc.us

Mr. Dwight Smith
262 Hillman Street
Warrenville, SC 29851
(803) 663-1954
dsmith@aiken.k12.sc.us

Mr. John Wesley Hightower
P.O. Box 985
Bath, SC 29816
Tel: (803) 593-4684 or (803) 593-2323
Fax: (803) 593-2435
hightowerw@aiken.k12.sc.us

Mr. Levi Green
2986 Silver Bluff Road
Aiken, SC 29803
(803) 652-7462
levigreen@atlanticbb.net

Mr. Ronnie West
894 Seivern Road
Wagener, SC 29164
803-564-6016
rwest@aiken.k12.sc.us

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