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Aiken County Council votes on Project Jackson tonight

Monday, Aug 19, 2013 6:06 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 5:10 AM
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The Aiken County Council is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. today , and a Project Jackson vote is on the table.

After the Aiken County school board approved the development’s funding Aug. 13 by a 7-2 vote, the next step is approval by the county council, which previously turned down the proposal in March.

The developers have come back with an adjusted financing model, one that found approval from the school board.

The Project Jackson development includes a baseball stadium for the Augusta GreenJackets, a 200-room, resort-style hotel and conference center, numerous restaurants, office and retail space, and apartments and townhouses on the North Augusta riverfront.

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augusta citizen
8968
Points
augusta citizen 08/19/13 - 09:05 pm
3
3
:(

Don't do it N. Aug/Aiken County.

Little Lamb
44869
Points
Little Lamb 08/19/13 - 10:19 pm
3
1
:(

One last chance to keep Aiken County taxpayers from falling off their own fiscal cliff.

Vote NO!

bdouglas
4819
Points
bdouglas 08/19/13 - 10:31 pm
2
1
The vote is not tonight. It's

The vote is not tonight. It's Tuesday night.

i-feel-older-2day
72
Points
i-feel-older-2day 08/20/13 - 05:18 am
2
2
I hope it passes. It will

I hope it passes. It will help NA grow and it will be fun for all.

...point to ponder
743
Points
...point to ponder 08/20/13 - 07:51 am
2
1
.... Augusta leaders have failed...

If the stadium moves to North Augusta.

This game of chess at the expense of losing Cal Ripkin seems surreal.

The obvious conflicts of interest are evident by the Augusta's Mayiors silence during these past several months.

Folks (developers close Azzizz) are drooling over the former golf and gardens site if baseball goes across the river.

I have not seen one ounce of leadership from the Ga side....

But I do hope that if the vote fails or if the stadium is excluded from the project THEN the elected leaders in Fa and Augusta get it in gear to keep baseball in Augusta!

llewallen
72
Points
llewallen 08/20/13 - 07:52 am
3
1
Its a bad idea....

I am curious about the new sports complex that is apparently on the way in part due to the school board allowing the diversion of tax revenue. This just doesn't make sense to me.

If baseball is the driving force behind this venture, how many fans need to come to the game in order for this to break even? Will ticket prices have to go up? They give away tickets to the Green Jackets games. If attendance is low on Augusta, what is the business case to think that merely moving the team across the river and putting them in a brand new complex will increase attendance in the long run? Regarding hotel’s and shopping, how many rooms need to be booked each day or week for the business to make a profit? What are you going to do when the baseball season is over?

No doubt it will be a money making venture for the developer(s). However, I think in the long run this venture isn’t going to break even and will require tax revenue to pay for upkeep, etc. After all, once you’ve built it with tax money, you can’t let it go to pot can you?

corgimom
30081
Points
corgimom 08/20/13 - 08:34 am
3
1
I wish they would vote NO!

I wish they would vote NO!

Dixieman
13861
Points
Dixieman 08/20/13 - 08:40 am
3
2
I have seen the future...

...and it is across the river. Smart money in the CSRA says it will pass, NA will rise higher, and Augusta receives another nail in its coffin thanks to short-sighted politicos. Feh.

t3bledsoe
14250
Points
t3bledsoe 08/20/13 - 08:58 am
3
2
A BIG THANK-YOU about Project Jackson !

I would LIKE TO THANK the following commenters about Pro. Jackson:

augusta citizen, Little Lamb, point to ponder, llewallien, and corgimom !

I wish you'll would go to the extent to e-mail the following:

ljones@northaugusta.net ryoung@aikencountysc.gov

t3bledsoe
14250
Points
t3bledsoe 08/20/13 - 09:11 am
2
1
Against Project Jackson

Well, we have been handed a load, yet again, by The Aiken County School Board with their seven to two vote for Project Jackson ! Last summer it was a tax increase and this summer a vote for a big boondoggle. Am I confused, “Aren’t school taxes and county taxes supposed to go to support what; we the tax payers; say that they are for ?” One of the things that I can not get over is how seven board members; some are not even from North Augusta; can represent people and put their votes into a non-county-wide project !

I hope these seven board members will get what they deserve ! Perhaps being thrown out of office to make room for some rational thinking members !

Any guesses as to how the county government is going to vote ? BINGO, you win the 64,000 dollar question !

Timothy Tim Monroe Bledsoe

Riverman1
81356
Points
Riverman1 08/20/13 - 09:31 am
3
3
Smart Money Equals Aiken Owners

Who owns the team now? End of story about the vote tonight. Realize this is the eternal skeptic, Riverman, talking, but I think it's going to be a monumental success. A mixed use stadium on the river in a great, safe area that people will want to come to. Contrast this with the TEE Center, a colossal failure.

How about a ferry boat across the river for guests at the Marriott and make it a complete experience? Sales of concessions will be superb. At one time the Greenjackets had one of the busiest concession sales in all of minor league baseball. That alone is going to make some big money.

triscuit
2952
Points
triscuit 08/20/13 - 10:52 am
4
0
I'm sure the owners of those

I'm sure the owners of those super expensive riverfront / Hammonds Ferry houses will love the fireworks noise from the games. I live 1.5 miles away from current field and can hear them clearly. Add in traffic, and trash....I may be wrong, but I don't see it as the best idea for that area. But I am sure there are lots of back room dealings going on.

BlueIsMyBoy
15
Points
BlueIsMyBoy 08/20/13 - 11:08 am
2
2
I think ticket sales for the

I think ticket sales for the Green Jackets will increase with this project. The stadium will be in a better location that people are not afraid of. Plus it would be easier for people. It's one stop shop. They can get dinner, go to the game then go get a drink. The stadium will increase the business for the restaurants in this project.
I would be fine with this happening in Augusta or Evans too. This area needs something like this. This area is starved for entertainment. How many restaurants open and it's impossible to get a table without an hour wait? How jammed packed is the movie theaters on a Saturday night? The mall, over the past weekend, looked like Christmas time. And with the Tee Center, James Brown Arena, Imperial Theater and The Bell sitting empty 95% of the time, there is no entertainment in Augusta. This is why cities approximately the same size as Augusta in the Southeast are LIGHT YEARS ahead of Augusta. Greenville, Ashville, Chattanooga, Savannah, LIGHT YEARS. Augusta has a gorgeous water front river area that people are afraid to go to now because they are going to get mugged. Augusta has repeatedly dropped the ball. North Augusta is just trying to pick up the ball and do what Augusta should have done all along, instead of building the Tee Center that sits empty 98% of the time (the proper thing to have done with the Tee Center is to build a multipurpose arena, a convention center and arena to replace the aging James Brown Arena that can't even support the Riverhawks anymore).
Just another thing to add to the list of things wrong with Augusta.

Jake
32145
Points
Jake 08/20/13 - 11:12 am
3
0
Riverfront development

Just exactly what does the Augusta side of the river have in terms of development other than Riverwalk? What happened to the stores, restaurants, museum, etc, that were put in place to great fanfare back in the late 80's and early 90's? Let's see.....Augusta has been in existence since the 1700's and all they have to show it, in terms of the river, is a seldom used Riverwalk?
But I do wonder if Riverwalk is not being utilized to it's potential then what will happen to Project Jackson if it is approved and built. It sounds good on paper but paper people don't amount to much in terms of support.

countyman
19527
Points
countyman 08/20/13 - 12:35 pm
2
5
Facts

The same people who criticize the plans when they were for Augusta love this idea. The funny thing is the city of Augusta didn't need money from the school board, and had big time developers including Jim Jacoby involved.

I find some of the comments hilarious, because downtown Augusta managed to recently attract the Whiskey Bar Kitchen, Farmhaus Burgers, Eros Bistro, and Boars Head Public House..

Five new restaurants downtown without an baseball stadium. The Craft & Vine restaurant is underway next door to Farmhaus Burgers.

I love how a few people are calling the TEE center a failure, but then actually believe North Augusta can support a conference center... The same people said nothing about Columbia County opening the exhibition center by the Walmart near Grovetown.

Do you guys really want to compare the number tourist yearly in Augusta versus Grovetown or North Augusta?

It's hilarious some people actually think the suburbs of Augusta can attract tourist, but not the actual city.

The Holiday Inn Express is under construction on Broad downtown in the CBD, and the citizens of Augusta didn't have to pay for a stadium to get another hotel. The proposed hotel near the common should also break ground very soon.

This project will help out North Augusta, but the Greenville theories are clearly over the top. Greenville is the main city in the region, and North Augusta is a suburb of another city.

Riverman1
81356
Points
Riverman1 08/20/13 - 12:24 pm
3
1
I drove down Broad St through

I drove down Broad St through town a total of 4 times over the weekend and am astounded by the empty buildings. I've never seen such a desolate main street. I went to Charleston twice and was amazed by their bustling activity.

Right on
176
Points
Right on 08/20/13 - 12:32 pm
1
1
I am glad N. Augusta will

I am glad N. Augusta will foot the bill, failure and Augusta benefits!!!! Good luck. Better use of tax dollars elsewhere for Augusta!!!

countyman
19527
Points
countyman 08/20/13 - 12:45 pm
1
3
Downtown Charleston is much

Downtown Charleston is much further along compared to downtown Augusta.

Go ride through downtown Columbus, Macon, Jackson, Huntsville, Montgomery, etc..

How you can anybody miss the construction if they rode down Broad street? The renovations are clearly in plan sight.

The fact remains multiple new restaurants were recently built in downtown Augusta. The new $8 million Holiday Inn Express is moving along, and none of this included taxpayer money.

I'm still amazed the people who constantly bring up the TEE Center, but don't have any problems with suburbs following behind Augusta.

Riverman1
81356
Points
Riverman1 08/20/13 - 01:03 pm
2
1
I sincerely wish Augusta

I sincerely wish Augusta well. If this is encouraging, I and others who know Charleston well, will tell you that until the mid 80's it was like downtown Augusta. The restaurants on King St are in what was once closed clothing stores. The turn-a-round of Charleston was stupendous. I'm hoping it could happen here or in North Augusta. Charleston has the beaches and so on to play off of, but we have the Masters, lots of cheap golf and the lake.

BlueIsMyBoy
15
Points
BlueIsMyBoy 08/20/13 - 01:30 pm
3
3
Have you driven downtown

Have you driven downtown Augusta after 5? It's pretty much completely dead outside of the HANDFUL of restaurants. Try going to ANY other downtown with approximately the same population of Augusta after 5 and it's a headache because of the traffic and congestion.
Do you think it's a coincidence that Chattanooga's baseball team draws more in attendance then Augusta even though (according to 2012 figures) Augusta is more populous? And attendance isn't even close, 50,000 this year and about the same last year. Even though Augusta has a winning record and Chattanooga doesn't.
There is no downtown draw in Augusta. Locals go downtown to eat, drink and work. That's it. I will go downtown once every couple of months or so to eat at one of the restaurants. But then it's straight back in the car and out of downtown. There is no walking around to experience the atmosphere like in Greenville or Chattanooga because there is no atmosphere and there is a major homeless issue. It's not a safe place. I've talked to a few in the Richmond County Sheriff's office that even agree that downtown isn't that safe after dark.
I would love to see downtown Augusta revitalized, but until the locals see that it's nowhere near Greenville or Chattanooga, it is never going to happen. Evidently a handful of restaurants opening downtown is revitalization, just ignore the businesses going out of business and the homeless/safety issues.

PhiloPublius
386
Points
PhiloPublius 08/20/13 - 02:21 pm
1
1
Please vote yes

There are 2 choices here:

1. Spend money, invest in your community, attract residents and business
-or-
2. Sit on your hands, do nothing, and turn into Downtown/south Augusta

Take a look at these other medium-sized, southern cities who aren't afraid of investing in their cities:
http://www.greenvillesc.gov/EconDev/Downtown/
http://www.downtownknoxville.org/
http://www.downtownchattanooga.org/new/dc

By the way. As a resident of NA I can actually voice my opinion unlike half of the commenters on this forum...

Look on the bright side Aug, If we move the Jackets to our side of the river, you can move all of the Cherry Tree Crossing residents to the vacated stadium! That will solve 2 problems at once!

CobaltGeorge
153273
Points
CobaltGeorge 08/20/13 - 03:12 pm
0
1
I Know For A Fact,

that if North Augusta come through with this beautiful plan, they will
receive some of my earned Dollars.

countyman
19527
Points
countyman 08/20/13 - 03:49 pm
1
3
Please don't turn this into

Please don't turn this into Augusta versus North Augusta, because the suburbs will always lose out in the comparison. Metro Augusta is barely larger compared to metro Chattanooga.

The current stadium in Augusta is located closer to Harrisburg than the Central Business District. The stadium was proposed on the GGHF site in Augusta which is near the Riverwalk, amenities on Broad, museums, theaters, etc.

How can somebody tell us there's no draw in downtown Augusta? Then expect people to flock to North Augusta, because of a new stadium. Do you have any proof the restaurants will be upscale and something not presently in the area? Do you have any proof the hotel will be Sheraton, Crowne Plaza, etc?

I'm sure those officers who spoke about 'downtown' included East Augusta, Harrisburg, Turpin Hill, etc. The Central Business District is the real downtown.

Downtown Augusta is already being revitalized, and there's more construction than a few restaurants. What restaurants or businesses are opening in downtown North Augusta? Downtown North Augusta is dead all the time compared to downtown Augusta.

The IT company Rural Sourcing is hiring 30 more people and they have around 70 employees already. The company is open in the Enterprise Mill, and Southpoint Media opened their new office in June. The Enterprise Mill is located near the CBD, and the Augusta Lung Associates are moving to 1301 Broad. The Holiday Inn Express is under construction and the new hotel near the commons begins soon.

I hope this works out well for North Augusta, but you don't have to bash Augusta in the process. Especially when downtown Augusta is attracting things left and right compared to downtown North Augusta.

Jessa519
8
Points
Jessa519 08/20/13 - 03:55 pm
2
0
The vote is for the TIF - not Project Jackson

Please note - tonight's vote is on whether or not to pass the TIF (Tax Increment Funding) which would fund riverfront development. Project Jackson is the riverfront development plan which has been in the spotlight, but nothing can happen with the riverfront if the TIF doesn't pass tonight.

triscuit
2952
Points
triscuit 08/20/13 - 03:59 pm
2
0
the reasons these other

the reasons these other similar-sized cities can do so much is because their councils/commissions vote for the better good of ALL, instead of their own little factions. Those boards can approve a nice project, even if it's not in a "black" neighborhood, or "white" neighborhood, but because they know that people from all over the town will either work there or enjoy it. Augusta will never rise to anything as long as half our commission wants to continue throwing money into areas that will never do anything but continue to disintegrate.

bigj706
1090
Points
bigj706 08/20/13 - 04:25 pm
1
0
I'm not originally from

I'm not originally from Augusta so I don't have some agenda to bash it , but it is my home now. I would love to see some entertainment down there every time me and my wife visits other cities we explore their down town area some remind us what Augusta could be hotels and restaurants are nice but something to do when we are in these other cities, we don't just eat Augusta needs to step it up and no not again food places they have that locked up we get Augusta land of the Food Places. Entertainment even nice shops to stroll through and buy things is what we need My goodness!!! We are on the water and all we can come with for show is hotels and food places come on Augusta! !!! Again not bashing just want better and I dont see the effort. Come On!!! Again no food places thanks!

countyman
19527
Points
countyman 08/20/13 - 04:29 pm
1
5
Those cities aren't

Those cities aren't consolidated with the majority of the county. They don't have to worry about building something in South Augusta every time somebody wants to improve the urban core.

If the leadership in these cities is so great compared to Augusta. The GDP, metro population, urban population, retail scene, etc should be crushing Augusta.

What other advantage does Chattanooga have besides a better downtown?

Did Chattanooga attract Whole Foods, Cabela's, a movie theater, H&M, and Michael Kors this year similar to Augusta? Obviously, the better downtown didn't automatically make Chattanooga a overall better place to live.

Chattanooga is growing slower, and the building permits are much lower compared to Augusta in 2013.

Nobody is pretending the government in Augusta can't do better, but I mean this paper for instance(Syliva Cooper) doesn't give any black commissioner a break.

The commission does work together in order to improve the entire city a lot of times. The Village at Riverwatch, Laney Walker/Bethlehem, magnet school in South Augusta, police substation on Mike Padgett, Mills/Cultural campuses, Diamond Lakes, etc.

jeremymace
3
Points
jeremymace 08/20/13 - 04:55 pm
1
2
Exciting Opportunity

As a North Augusta resident and business owner, I am proud to support Project Jackson and hope that the Aiken County Council votes in favor of using the TIF which will help move that forward. I also pray that the plain and simple truth of the TIF will clearly be communicated and that the opposition's lies will be exposed. Just for the record - the vote is tonight! Thumbs up! If you are interested in learning more about Project Jackson - they have a great site - likeprojectjackson.com!

justthefacts
21089
Points
justthefacts 08/20/13 - 04:57 pm
4
1
Hmmm

Not to be picky, but Chattanooga has all the stores you mentioned. Maybe I misunderstood your point.

dlheureux
3
Points
dlheureux 08/20/13 - 05:19 pm
1
2
Project Jackson supporter

While my daughter was growing up her father and I were thoughtful about making our residence in Georgia based on our common desire to provide her with a great public education matched to her intellect and interests. We lived in Martinez, Evans and Augusta as a result.
She went on to college and graduate school and my priorities changed to searching for a community that would meet my needs - a community centered around what I can best describe as "neighborliness". Hammonds Ferry was the best option for my needs and it hasn't disappointed in meeting those needs. This thriving traditional neighborhood development wouldn't have seen the light of day without the incentive of a tif - tax incremental funding. A tif doesn't require the governing body (whether a school board or a county council) to divert funds into a project. It simply allows the increased tax revenue from the development to be funneled back into the project for a specified period of time so that the development can blossom. It's only diverting the INCREASED value revenue to be used for the development. Certainly a win-win. Because without the development there would be no increased revenue anyway. So no one's losing. Over time, the full value will be released for taxing and that will bring in lots of revenue if the development is successful. Mayor Jones and the other leaders of North Augusta excel at being successful. One only has to look at the Riverview Activities Center and the North Augusta Greeneway, as well as the new municipal building to witness the careful, thoughtful, fiscally conservative planning that went into these projects.
I suppose it makes people feel good to bash community leaders and dismiss them as bumble-headed fools without any common sense, but I disagree. I am proud to live in North Augusta. I'm proud of our common sense. I'm proud of our attention to detail in keeping our community clean and beautiful. I'm proud of our commitment to catering to the citizens' desire for safe walking and bicycling paths. No doubt it would be much easier and far less stress to table anything new and worth consideration just to avoid the headache of naysayers. Please consider joining me in supporting our leaders in this exciting venture to set Aiken County up as THE riverfront community of South Carolina.

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