The North Augusta City Council will vote one last time on Project Jackson on Monday, but council members say it could take several months to a year before ground is broken for the riverfront development.
Monday’s meeting will mark the third and final reading to approve an amended ordinance that will allow the city to create a Tax Increment Financing district to fund the $144 million public development. The project would include a baseball stadium that would be home to the Augusta GreenJackets.
The amended ordinance passed first and second readings, with Councilman James Adams being the only opposing vote. Last month, Adams said he disapproved of government involvement in a private investment.
“I don’t expect too big of a turnout,” Councilwoman Pat Carpenter said. “Unless something drastic happens, it should move on without a hitch.”
Carpenter said there appears to be public acceptance of the project moving forward.
“I think a lot of people have realized that (the ordinance) is going to go through, and I think a lot of folks have also had a change of heart over time,” she said.
The project still has a long way to go, though. The council is only voting on the means to fund it, Councilman Fletcher Dickert said. Building designs and layout have not been finalized.
“I anticipate that it will take anywhere from six months to a year before we see anything happening on that site,” he said. “There is still a lot that has to happen.”
Before any ground is broken, a development plan will have to be put in place, and the council will seek public input, Councilman Ken McDowell said. The council will begin study sessions immediately following the final vote to determine the layout of the project and identify which firms are the most capable of completing the project.
“We will start those study sessions very, very quickly,” McDowell said. “We want to make sure that this is the best possible project for the people of North Augusta and ensure that no burden is placed on the taxpayers.”