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North Augusta resolution lays groundwork for stadium project

Monday, Jan. 21, 2013 12:56 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013 1:12 AM
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A resolution laying further groundwork for “Project Jackson,” a massive North Au­gus­ta riverfront development project that includes a city-financed stadium for the Augusta GreenJackets, will be up for approval at a meeting tonight.

The resolution going before the North Augusta City Council provides preliminary approval to several amendments that expand the scope and add new projects to a 1996 riverfront redevelopment plan.

The amendments involving the redevelopment district of Ham­mond’s Ferry River­front Cen­ter would include a 225-room hotel, a 225-unit apartment complex, 30,000 square feet of commercial space, 40,000 square feet of office space, restaurants, 75 townhomes, a conference center and a 900-space parking garage.

The amendments reflect North Augusta’s intention to issue 30-year tax-increment revenue bonds for its portion of the public-private development, to include $4 million for the conference center, $10.8 million for the parking garage and $28 million for the stadium.

The city will service the bonds with tax-increment financing, meaning it will use property tax revenue generated by new development in the district along with other sources, such as sales tax revenues, hotel and hospitality fees, stadium naming rights and user fees and parking fees.

City Administrator Todd Glover warned that passing the resolution does not constitute approval of Project Jackson. The council is required to hold three additional readings and a public hearing on the ordinance, along with three readings and a public hearing on the bond issue.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: North Augusta City Council meeting

WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday

WHERE: Municipal Center, 100 Georgia Ave., third floor

Comments (28) Add comment
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Little Lamb
45828
Points
Little Lamb 01/21/13 - 02:55 pm
6
2
Bonds

The citizens of North Augusta need to let their respective council reps know that they want a public referendum on the bonds. Don't give away bond approval decisions to the council alone.

Little Lamb
45828
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Little Lamb 01/21/13 - 02:58 pm
5
1
Revenue

How much revenue will a minor league ball team generate to pay off $28 million? How much revenue will a parking deck generate to pay off $11 million? How much revenue will a conference center generate to pay off $4 million?

Take a look at Augusta's new parking deck. With the Riverfront LLC management deal in place, the deck is projected to be in the hole for every year in the foreseeable future. Likewise, the convention center is expected to lose a cool million bucks a year. It's kind of hard to pay off revenue bonds with negative revenue.

Taxpayers to the rescue!

David Parker
7923
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David Parker 01/21/13 - 03:24 pm
2
0
nah, just let them build it

nah, just let them build it and pay for it willy-nilly. I want some baseball on the river at all cost. My heart was already heavy from losing the team to South Caroline (no offense).

Little Lamb
45828
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Little Lamb 01/21/13 - 05:31 pm
5
2
@ Austin Rhodes

Thank you for saying those kind things about me on your program just after four today. The main point I was trying to make up above is that such public enterprises as ball parks, conference centers, and parking decks do not generate any net revenue. Operating and maintenance costs outweigh rental fees.

The article up above says that the powers that be wish to burden the taxpayers of North Augusta with revenue bonds. It would be more honest for them to propose general obligation bonds, so the people could think soberly about the projects.

The politicians try to trick the people into thinking that revenue bonds will not cost them anything. That is not the whole truth.

zcock
60
Points
zcock 01/21/13 - 05:49 pm
1
5
Little Lamb

Are you a resident of North Augusta?

Little Lamb
45828
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Little Lamb 01/21/13 - 07:33 pm
3
2
West

No, ZCock, I live in West Augusta. But I urge the City Council of North Augusta to allow their citizens to vote on the taxation mechanism of this Jackson project. I urge the citizens of North Augusta to contact their council members and insist on a referendum. It's the American Way!

Oh, yes, and it's for the chi - i - i - ildren.

TCB22
632
Points
TCB22 01/21/13 - 08:50 pm
2
2
Good grief

I love the plan and commend North Augusta for their forward thinking. Don't let the "Debbie Downers" on here influence your momentum. These same people whined about the wonderful new park in Evans too and look at its success.

zcock
60
Points
zcock 01/21/13 - 09:12 pm
2
2
OK Little Lamb

I didn't think you had a dog in the show.

Gage Creed
17104
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Gage Creed 01/21/13 - 09:23 pm
2
2
And zcock....would you have a

And zcock....would you have a dog in the fight?

Brad Owens
4405
Points
Brad Owens 01/21/13 - 10:01 pm
8
0
Bad Idea...

Better drop the "225-unit apartment complex" part of that deal if you want this to remain a first class area and project. Hammonds Ferry sets the bar pretty high in my opinion and they don't need to have property values destroyed in the long term by a large apartment complex.

Brad

Little Lamb
45828
Points
Little Lamb 01/21/13 - 11:02 pm
6
1
Down-scale

Brad, you are right on the mark. You can bet that the out-of-town developer (probably wearing an Armani suit) assured the mayor and the city council that the apartments would be very upper-scale. But what gets put in is often not what the artist's rendering implies.

Have you ever heard a developer making a pitch to a county commission or a city council say that his proposed project is low-rent?

jmo
15884
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jmo 01/22/13 - 04:44 am
1
0
Little Lamb

I think you watching the A/RC Commission in action over the past years has tainted your sense of trust. lol

seenitB4
86692
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seenitB4 01/22/13 - 06:39 am
3
1
LLamb is right on the money

You better listen & do it right!!

seenitB4
86692
Points
seenitB4 01/22/13 - 06:40 am
4
1
Gwinnett County

Read before you jump tax payers.....please read this....

http://reason.com/archives/2012/10/31/taxpayers-on-the-hook-for-gwinnett...

seenitB4
86692
Points
seenitB4 01/22/13 - 06:45 am
5
2
Get your ducks in a row

Line the ducks up before you agree to everything.....everything that glitters won't be gold ...yaknow....
LLamb has studied the problem from all angles.....believe me....we have read his posts for years....not saying don't do it....just use good ole common sense when you do...imho

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 01/22/13 - 07:22 am
6
1
Just curious

I went to the city's website to see how much it costs to rent Lake Olmstead Stadium for events, wondering what kind of break the Greenjackets get in rental fees. All it mentions are baseball games, office hours, and box office hours. The best I could come up with was this, although written in legaleeze, it looks like the city gets $50k from Ripken to tie up the stadium, Ripken owns and receives $$ from all concessions for "all activities" held at the stadium, sell and receive revenue from all advertising at the stadium, all revenue from broadcast, and the city is responsible for repair and upkeep. Im not a lawyer, so someone help me out. It sounds to me like we bought a cow for someone else, we get to pay for feeding it, building and upkeep of the barn, and when we sell the milk, they get the money.
http://appweb.augustaga.gov/WEBLINK8/docview.aspx?id=13570&dbid=0

agustinian
689
Points
agustinian 01/22/13 - 07:43 am
5
1
Bad Move and Probably Illegal

In the words of Yogi Berra "The future ain't what it used to be." This project is wrong for Hammond's Ferry and that area of North Augusta. The activities generated by baseball and a large footprint hotel are inconsistent with the quietude of the brick ponds and the ambiance of the area. This is a bad deal.
Finally, using the TIF law in this manner is contrary to its purposes and probably violates the law, which puts these bonds on shaky grounds.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 01/22/13 - 07:46 am
5
1
SeenitB4 - Points out correctly Augusta was a copy of Gwinnett.

I was living in Gwinnett when this happened and what we were told by the Commissioners and the Power Brokers was on script with what Augusta was seeing and being told. Different players and actors but pretty much the same script.

The citizen demanded a NO vote on the stadium in numbers of almost 4 to 1. The commissioners voted for it one night with no public notice, to do it anyhow. In short the Gwinnett Residents were lied to also. But they had the last laugh, it lit fire in their bellies that ended up putting several commissioners in jail, plus forcing the resignations of a few others.

The Gwinnett people were also promised a biblical holy grail, and it turned out to be an broken overflowing septic tank.

ncboy8
6
Points
ncboy8 01/22/13 - 08:56 am
2
2
N Aug Taxpayer

I'm a N Aug taxpayer, and I'd love to see this project go forward, in its current form. Wouldn't mind even living down there, Hammonds Ferry is a terrific thing for N Aug. It's a shame downtown Augusta doesn't take notes! And no, I don't mind paying taxes for that. Geez, it's amazing to see the pessimism around Augusta. Growth doesn't happen for free, guys.

seenitB4
86692
Points
seenitB4 01/22/13 - 09:02 am
5
2
ncboy8

Funny that you said this 5 years ago...

I love the idea of developing

I love the idea of developing the river, but why put in apartments?? Apartments never appreciate in quality. They only last as long as the next bigger and better complex gets built, then the development goes downhill and becomes either vacant or polluted with crime. Not a smart move on the North Augusta planning committee

??

seenitB4
86692
Points
seenitB4 01/22/13 - 09:04 am
3
1
amazing to see the pessimism around Augusta

You said that....^^

pot meet kettle!

Little Lamb
45828
Points
Little Lamb 01/22/13 - 09:06 am
2
2
That's Fine, ncboy8

I understand your excitement about having a new development downtown. I understand your willingness to pay for it with your taxes. I just want the people of North Augusta to think long and hard about the costs and the benefits and then to vote their beliefs.

In Augusta, we seldom realize what was promised. North Augusta’s government may be more transparent than Augusta’s. I hope so.

justthefacts
21698
Points
justthefacts 01/22/13 - 09:06 am
3
0
Rental agreement

You don't have to be a lawyer to see a basic rental agreement. Not unlike renting a home from someone. The owner collects rent and is responsible for the upkeep of the house. The renter lives as he pleases as long as he pays and doesn't destroy the property. If you want the revenue the team generates, buy the team.

Riverman1
83487
Points
Riverman1 01/22/13 - 10:31 am
2
1
I hope we keep Lake Olmstead

I hope we keep Lake Olmstead Stadium for the Summerville campus of GRU baseball's team. (See how stupid it is trying to describe the former ASU?)

GiantsAllDay
9572
Points
GiantsAllDay 01/22/13 - 11:24 am
1
2
Would be great for the green

Would be great for the green jackets to have a brand new home!

ncboy8
6
Points
ncboy8 01/22/13 - 01:26 pm
0
0
seenitB4

That was when they were planning to build ONLY apartments. There was no talk of a Project Jackson 5 yrs ago. HUGE difference when it's a mixed community of retail, office, residential, & social activity, versus a single apartment complex. Much better planning & better use of space. We all watched the townhomes beside River Club go under foreclosure and deemed it a failure. However, put that development on the other side of the bridge and see what happens.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 01/22/13 - 02:13 pm
1
0
Lot's of different views. I

Lot's of different views. I say vote on it. Referendum-style ala LL

Gage Creed
17104
Points
Gage Creed 01/22/13 - 10:28 pm
2
1
If the Green Jackets move to

If the Green Jackets move to North Augusta....will they be the Yellow Jackets?

Little Lamb
45828
Points
Little Lamb 01/23/13 - 09:38 am
1
2
Political Correctness

When the team moves across the river, they will indeed need a new name, as Gage suggested. I suggest they get with the national trend of green and call the team Green Energy.

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