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Todd Glover tells Aiken audience Project Jackson value

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AIKEN — North Augusta City Administrator Todd Glover on Friday made a pitch for the city’s Project Jackson stadium and hotel project to the Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce.

The $143 million riverfront development, to be funded partly with county taxes, requires approval by the Aiken County school board and the Aiken County Council. The school system gave its OK on Aug. 13 after North Augusta limited the system’s participation and increased financial incentives, but the council chose to approve the deal by ordinance, requiring three separate votes. The council has voted “yes” to the plan once so far and could take another vote after a public hearing scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday at Aiken Technical College.

Glover told the large chamber crowd gathered for the start of Aiken’s annual Aiken’s Makin’ arts and crafts festival that he sought to dispel myths and misconceptions about the project.

For one, he said, the 25-acre project isn’t merely a stadium project but also includes a hotel, a conference center and other amenities. The stadium will be available for 10,000-seat concerts and sports events such as soccer and Masters Week golf events in addition to holding 70 home games of the Augusta GreenJackets baseball team, he said.

For at least four years, the GreenJackets sought a new home in Augusta to replace Lake Olmstead Stadium, but after no deal materialized, turned to North Augusta. Public reaction has been mixed to the public-private proposal, which under South Carolina law requires the development area to carry the designation of “blighted.”

The construction of Project Jackson, which must be completed in two years, will create or sustain 2,705 jobs, and the completed project will sustain 1,000 permanent jobs but a precise count of new jobs being created is not known, Glover said.

North Augusta is seeking to use the incremental property tax increases across a 457-acre special tax district to fund the development. For example, on a $100,000 home whose value rises to $110,000 as a result of the development, the project would take the difference in property tax revenue of $52.68.

As residents later paraded through downtown Aiken to celebrate the festival’s start, Richard Mixson said he supports the project and believes it will benefit the city of Aiken and Aiken County as a whole, with the stadium and hotel drawing an audience from surrounding counties into North Augusta.

Mixson said that North Augusta has deftly handled other developments such as the North Augusta Greeneway and that he expects the same with Project Jackson.

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Graniteville Girl
Graniteville Girl 09/09/13 - 08:35 am
to jleyes

It is amazing that the "pro- ProJack" crowd loves to point fingers at people in the public that don't agree with them without presenting facts to back them up. That is what has happened all along. Even in the Aug. 20th meeting and the School Board meetings, the "Pro" crowd jeered and sneered at the Aiken County residents who were able to provide proof that the Project Jackson TIF is at best a presentation of "ifs and maybes" that speculate the millions and millions of dollars that would be brought into the bedroom community, just by putting a magical stadium in its' midst. The problem is that the proof lies in the facts -- not the speculative projections that Mayor Lark Jones and CA Todd Glover has presented. Bottom line is that North Augusta City had a plan that would help growth along, without risking all of Aiken County taxpayer monies and they presented that plan to the public in December 2012. What happened? They decided that they could dream big and Aiken County taxpayers would be none-the-wiser by doing so.
Mayor Jones made a tactical error in judgment, when he decided to "go for the gold" and risk pushing for an extension of the TIF. They have shifted the money around in no less than 38 proposal models. Mayor Jones then decided to let Aiken County taxpayers know thru an open newspaper guest column that anyone that didn't agree with him were "non-residents" and "NIMBYs" (not in my backyard). It goes against my grain that a public official would stoop to calling names on a subject where my tax monies would be put at risk. And that goes for others in favor of extending the TIF who do the same. When someone is asking for huge sums of money from their neighbors for a period of 30 years, you would think they would not mind presenting facts that would make sense to all -- and do so politely.

Aiken 09/09/13 - 12:50 pm
Aiken and Project Jackson .. . Side Note

Frankly.. . Many of us felt that instead of purchasing land and constructing a new government office building, etc, we should have purchased the Aiken Mall! It would have been a far wiser cost effective, fiscally responsible and efficient forward thinking investment. Not to mention, it offered all a form of "Transparency" by virtue of it's architectural design. It would have eliminated consultancy fees and egregious expenses.. . Already in place there was/is ample parking, public restrooms and it would have been beneficial to employees and a financial coup. But no, instead they "Forgot" a property already purchased at taxpayer expense and built a facility which ultimately had a rather telling oversight, despite all the back patting and hoopla.. Incredulously, The County Coroner's office was left out. Tim Carlton subsequently took a reporter to visit the existing morgue facility.. and lest they'd forgotten "Identifications" are as well made by a deceased persons family, friends, etc at the location which required passing through a gauntlet of stench and dumpsters flowing with garbage, as well as, navigating trash littering the entry way.. which incidentally required Tim Carlton to kick away prior to their entering the facility.

Bottom line.. We the voting public here have some serious issues that need to be addressed. There are accountability issues that need to be underscored and a sports stadium/arena is not going to be our panacea!

Nor is Project Jackson something the "Winter Colony" envisioned for our community.. . I've heard the terms "Absurd" and "Ridiculous" levied from some of our 2nd home owners.. .

Project Jackson will have a very definitive adverse impact on NA residents home valuations.. .and no doubt give rise to increased crime and other hazards/conditions. Frankly, children living, visiting, playing in the area will be at risk. I suppose some will suggest developers will subsequently come in and offer incredible amounts of money to buy up homes affording victims financial freedom to relocate elsewhere.

I remember ..In NYC you'd take the train to 161st Street in the Bronx.. . It was a lovely neighborhood. NOT.

sheilaj 09/09/13 - 01:47 pm
Project Jackson

This project is only good for the developers and their "friends". This is a 212 million dollar project and the developer is only putting in 101 million which is less than 50% of the total. They expect the tax payers to cough up the rest. How do they have the audacity to ask tax payers to pay for over half of a private development.

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