Quality addition

Project Jackson would be a huge plus for North Augusta

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This page was foursquare opposed to the former proposal for a new baseball stadium in downtown Augusta. It never felt right, the environs were problematic, the financing was never quite explained and we were never convinced a stadium was the highest and best use of the city’s prime riverfront land.

But the current proposal across the river in North Augusta, S.C., has a completely different feel to it.

“Project Jackson” appears to not only complement, but complete, the remarkable Charleston-style Hammond’s Ferry residential/commercial development just off the shoreline. The proposed addition of a stadium and hotel, nearby retail shops, restaurants, office space and residential units not only appears to fit the area nicely, but it has the potential to transform North Augusta into a destination. A smart, upscale, safe and family-friendly one, at that.

We must admit, we were highly skeptical going in. We’ve kept our powder dry on the issue, but we’ve worried all along. North Augusta has done so much right on its share of shoreline. We’d hate to see them spoil the mood.

After studying the project at length, we are now convinced otherwise. We have, instead, come away excited.

Apparently we’re not alone: Those involved in the $144 million development report that, far from being scared off, there are more people interested in living at Hammond’s Ferry since the stadium complex bombshell announcement was made last December.

We’re convinced this will be a quality addition. Design of ballparks, for instance, has come light years since Augusta’s Lake Olmstead was built. And while we think Olmstead would do, with a little work, there are enhancements and accoutrements in new stadiums that are irresistible to teams and their supporters, including more comfort, suites, food upgrades and more.

Just as importantly, they’re designed to look much more upscale, a la Camden Yards in Baltimore.

The stadium also will be host to more than baseball – including soccer and other athletic events and concerts.

We’re also convinced that Hammond’s Ferry’s original promise of a green and park-like setting will be honored, even as the development offers the best attributes of city living.

As for other concerns: Of the $144 million total, $103 million is to be private investment, with $41 million or so coming from tax increment financing; the Augusta GreenJackets, backed by the entirety of professional baseball, are obligating themselves to at least a 20-year lease; and officials say decibel levels outside a similar stadium in Greenville, S.C., are supremely livable.

In truth, soccer fields at nearby Riverview Park already produce happy sounds of an active life anyway.

There are always reasons to oppose every new development, and we respect those who oppose Project Jackson. We were leaning your way – until all was considered.

With the Aiken County Council’s approval, the project can proceed in quick fashion: The deal requires construction be accomplished within a two-year period.

After initially wondering if it was a good idea, we’re now wondering how it can wait.

Comments (9) Add comment
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Bodhisattva
6148
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Bodhisattva 09/14/13 - 04:44 am
8
0
Translation: As soon as the

Translation: As soon as the planned location was moved from land that is adjacent to the Morris Museum of Art, the Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center, and the TEE Center, and land that was the site of possible future taxpayer development, and a another future big taxpayer gift to Augusta Riverfront, LLC, it became a grand idea.

Riverman1
83621
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Riverman1 09/14/13 - 05:09 am
2
3
Sure, Why Not?

The hotels and shops around the ballpark in that safe ambiance of North Augusta and the river will become an area people visit. Stay there in the hotel, walk around feeling safe with likeminded people, attend a game or concert and enjoy the restaurants, shops and bars. There's a golf course nearby. There will be a convention center. Although I was neutral on Project Jackson early on, I also saw it was a done deal early because of the ownership.

I have dealings with a person who visits cities all over the south because of his work. He’s always asking for recommendations for places to stay that are unique. I’ve given him a couple of recommendations about Charleston and besides The Partridge Inn a few years ago before its recent troubles, for Augusta, I tell him to stick to those bland hotels at Stevens Creek Rd. This new project will definitely be a destination to recommend.

seenitB4
86829
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seenitB4 09/14/13 - 07:04 am
3
3
Camden Yards

http://www.ballparksofbaseball.com/al/CamdenYards.htm

This is interesting....N Augusta is the best location for sooo many reasons...imho.

agustinian
689
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agustinian 09/14/13 - 07:40 am
4
1
Why?

Between the blight in North Augusta and the slum in Augusta, why would anyone want to come there?

Instead of real jobs with real "bread" -- we offer up circuses!

soapy_725
43676
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soapy_725 09/14/13 - 07:59 am
0
0
Yes, the huge stadium in historic Charleston.
Unpublished

Yes, the huge stadium in historic Charleston.

soapy_725
43676
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soapy_725 09/14/13 - 08:01 am
0
0
remarkable Charleston-style Hammond’s Ferry GONE!!!
Unpublished

remarkable Charleston-style Hammond’s Ferry GONE!!!

soapy_725
43676
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soapy_725 09/14/13 - 08:02 am
0
0
Quite, peaceful, homey. Replace with noise, craz commercializat
Unpublished

Quite, peaceful, homey. Replace with noise & crass commercialism

dichotomy
32778
Points
dichotomy 09/14/13 - 10:59 am
5
0
I'm guessing "and associates"

I'm guessing "and associates" has figured out a plan where he can make more money off of his holdings on this side of the river this way. RC taxpayers should grab their wallets and try to keep Paul Simon away from the commissioners.......and wrap Fred Russell in duct tape and lock him in a closet somewhere.

I'll bet old Fred is really going to be torn trying to decide whether to sell us the next SPLOST on covering his bungling of the Marble Palace remodel or building Paul Simon and "associates" their next taxpayer funded project. Or is he planning to jack up the amount to cover both?

t3bledsoe
14290
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t3bledsoe 09/14/13 - 11:25 am
4
2
Riverman1 @ 5:09

"Although I was neutral on Project Jackson early on, I also saw it was a done deal early because of the ownership"

I, not only hate this project, BUT I think there are a lot of pockets being padded with this project!!

blues550
376
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blues550 09/14/13 - 12:54 pm
0
0
Editorial Foolishness
Unpublished

Again Billy's Boys contiunue to tought what's good for the boss.

That;s okay, he owns the newspaper...nut don't go around thumping your chests about your independence.

You are nothing more than shills. Period.

BTW, I am all for the stadium...go Greenjackets!!!!

Riverman1
83621
Points
Riverman1 09/14/13 - 05:53 pm
4
1
Keep in mind TIF comes about

Keep in mind TIF comes about from future taxes that would not have occurred without the project. I mean this project is monstrously huge. IF it works as has been laid out we are all going to be saying....awwwwwww!!!

nocnoc
42468
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nocnoc 09/14/13 - 07:23 pm
4
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Y'all pay the bill over in North Augusta

We'll attend

But, Y'all seem to have a better plan than the Downtown Power Brokers & Land Owners tried to sneak by us on this side of the river.

If Augusta keeps on its current path and taxing, pretty soon we'll be calling North Augusta, Augusta SC and Augusta The South Side Slum.

OH, That's right. 7 commissioners already did vote to call Downtown a Slum for more $$$$$$ to spend.

rebellious
20685
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rebellious 09/15/13 - 08:41 pm
1
0
Memphis

Anyone ever been to Memphis, Beale Street, Mud Island? And then had the fortune to venture to West Memphis, Arkansas? As different as night and day, one open and enjoyable. The other dangerous and dilapidated. Only a river between the two, yet eons apart in the experience.
North Augusta has always been a bedroom community for Augusta. They have only recently (last 15 years) started developing their riverfront, and they have done so with the future in mind. They have managed to growth to attract a certain socio-economic class. The results are evident. This is the next logical step.

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