Improve North Augusta's future

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Since my decision to return to the CSRA in 1998 and move to North Augusta, I think I have earned a reputation as an above-average civic-minded individual with a proven and sincere interest in, and proven dedication toward, the betterment of our community. I get involved. I volunteer. I try to offer my opinion, my time and my sweat toward initiatives that promote a better future for our children here.

As a matter of fact, it is because of this precise instinct (drive, intuition, inclination, whatever it is) that I volunteered to become involved with Hammond’s Ferry and the city of North Augusta’s goal to connect its downtown with the Savannah River. After two years of volunteering my time, I was honored to be asked to work for the North Augusta River Front Co. in the actual planning and creation of this great vision. Today, I call Hammond’s Ferry home, both for my family and for two businesses.

My decision was made in large part because of Project Jackson and the promise that this plan holds for establishing a responsible and practical method for finally allowing the public/private partnership (that is the North Augusta Riverfront model) to realize the goals established with the public planning charrettes in the late 1990s. This promise is for a riverfront not only accessible to anyone, but equipped with all of the critical components of a city that allow businesses to thrive, and inspires families of all incomes to both live and visit. This latter promise is achieved through certain public and civic uses that will allow this riverfront to become a true national destination.

I desperately want people to clearly understand that there are very dedicated and trustworthy people working on all levels on behalf of this vision. There are of course people who have spoken out against Hammond’s Ferry, its density and its mixed uses from the very beginning. Unfortunately, the current Tax Increment Financing proposal (which is an amendment of an existing TIF) has allowed the same naysayers to re-emerge and say almost anything to disable the public/civic-minded focus of this plan, vying for exclusivity over inclusivity.

What I am afraid people do not understand is that everything that Hammond’s Ferry is today is because of joint public/private investment. Brick Pond Park, Center Street, the Riverfront Greeneway path, Boeckh Park and the docks – all public/private funding.

The private developer seeking to invest in North Augusta also was faced with naysayers in Fort Wayne, Ind. Upon the successful realization of that city’s public/private partnership for an almost identical mixed-use facility, that city’s News-Sentinel newspaper wrote in an Aug. 7 editorial:

“If we can find an idea as good as the stadium for the riverfront, that will become a success, too. ... Studies can’t really get anything done. The best they can do is pave the way for people with good ideas willing to take risks. The best the rest of us can do is encourage those people and try to recognize the worthiness of a good idea when we see one.

“There was a lot of skepticism, expressed by this editorial page and elsewhere, of the idea of a new baseball facility when there was an adequate one already in use. The downtown boosters have proved the skeptics wrong the best way possible: by succeeding spectacularly.”

Any success at Hammond’s Ferry is because of responsible public input and investment as proposed in the TIF, which is triggered only when the private investors commit to funding all of the proposed entertainment facilities, hotel, apartments and housing – none of which is to be paid for with TIF dollars. Only the public-related parking and convention facilities will be funded with TIF.

To quote from the original city charrette: “The project is designed as a collection of walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods which extend the historic town of North Augusta, reconnecting the town with its riverfront. The project will contain more than 1,000 new homes, condominiums and apartments, as well as business and civic uses, and excellent new parks and public spaces fronting the river.”

So far we have kept to task. All the city asks is to maintain what it has started. All that families like mine want – and now countless others who are volunteering their time – is a new and better future for North Augusta and the CSRA.

Comments (12) Add comment
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dpatt.marine1
71
Points
dpatt.marine1 08/20/13 - 06:27 am
2
4
The more I examine this

The more I examine this proposal, the more I see the area needing this more and more. Honestly North Augusta is the best location for the Greenjackets. The team will now have a riverfront stadium which should help spur development on the westside of the 13th street bridge on the Georgia side of the river, especially when the medical district finally hits the area. I believe this proposal will spur even more development not only on the riverfront for North Augusta , but the I-520 side as well. This venue will offer the city the ability to attract outdoor concerts, conventions and a host of children baseball events and more. Augusta must compensate by developing the riverfront with GRU and with collabaration with the city of North Augusta create an updated vision for the area.

TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 08/20/13 - 07:04 am
0
0
Even though the idea is
Unpublished

Even though the idea is pretty neat, I don't get the warm fuzzy feeling inside- and I'm fairly close to the area.

...point to ponder
743
Points
...point to ponder 08/20/13 - 07:39 am
4
1
...Cudos to North Augusta...

But the stadium needs to stay in Augusta.

lovingthesouth72
1368
Points
lovingthesouth72 08/20/13 - 08:26 am
6
3
Go for it!

N.Augusta is light years ahead of its dysfunctional neighbor. You all have the right idea. Keep moving forward while we just sit back and see the bright lights from this side of the river in our decaying county. Congrats to you all for your efforts to actually want to improve your life. Unlike peeps on this side who just want to see it go further in the gutter.

countyman
19659
Points
countyman 08/20/13 - 01:26 pm
2
9
Attracting the upscale movie

Attracting the upscale movie theater, Whole Foods, Cabela's, etc is considered decaying?

Riverman1
81979
Points
Riverman1 08/20/13 - 02:10 pm
6
3
West Augusta is thriving.

West Augusta is thriving. Downtown, not so much.

Little Lamb
45165
Points
Little Lamb 08/20/13 - 04:12 pm
5
1
We Need a Fact Check Here

From the letter:

. . . proposed in the TIF, which is triggered only when the private investors commit to funding all of the proposed entertainment facilities, hotel, apartments and housing – none of which is to be paid for with TIF dollars. Only the public-related parking and convention facilities will be funded with TIF.

Excuse me, but I was certain that the ball park would be partially if not wholly paid for by public dollars. I know that the agreement was amended to take the school system out of paying anything for the ballpark; but I believe that the city and the county are set to pay for the ballpark if approved by the city government (done deal) and by the county government (the fix is likely in).

Can anyone do a fact check on that part of the letter?

Gage Creed
16640
Points
Gage Creed 08/20/13 - 06:38 pm
6
2
LL...doncha know? You have to

LL...doncha know? You have to pass it to see what's in it....

If we only had a four guys burger joint and a dollar theater... (eyeroll)

countyman
19659
Points
countyman 08/20/13 - 06:48 pm
2
6
Dollar theater? The movie

Dollar theater? The movie theater will have a restaurant, and come with rocking chairs. The patrons can also eat during the movies in some theaters.

Holiday Inn Express, Augusta Lung Associates, Sprint Food Metro Market, Craft & Vine, new residential, etc..

The CBD is booming in 2013.

Gage Creed
16640
Points
Gage Creed 08/20/13 - 07:31 pm
5
2
National Hills rocking chair

National Hills rocking chair theater...circa 1970's....

What movie have you ever been to where you could not eat during the movie?

SMH

TylerGalles
46
Points
TylerGalles 08/20/13 - 11:05 pm
1
3
Can't wait

I live within walking distance of Project Jackson. I have been excited about it since the very first mention of it. I lived in Pittsburgh as they were building PNC park on the river, and saw how it transformed that part of town. Now it is one of the best parts of the city. I love the idea of being on a boat while a game or concert is going on. Already love doing that with the amphitheater downtown. Thank you all for your hard work in moving this forward.

Little Lamb
45165
Points
Little Lamb 08/21/13 - 09:50 pm
1
0
Loudspeaker

TylerGalles posted:

I love the idea of being on a boat while a game . . . is going on.

Excuse me, but they don't broadcast the play-by-play over the loudspeakers at GreenJackets games. If you're in your boat on the Savannah pool downtown, you really won't be a part of the fun inside the ballpark.

chrishardy
49
Points
chrishardy 08/29/13 - 09:03 am
0
0
lol, we humans sure can't

lol, we humans sure can't stand the thought of nature just sitting there not making any revenue, can we?

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