Letter: The bill vs. the billing

I petition the citizens of the city of North Augusta, especially its taxpayers, to be aware of the lead article in the sports section of the Saturday, Dec. 16, Chronicle. It concerns the naming of the new manager of the Augusta GreenJackets, Mr. Jolbert Cabrera.

 

Following his introduction, Mr. Cabrera said the following two sentences as part of a news release:

“I am very excited and humbled to be a part of opening the new stadium in Augusta.”

“Augusta is a passionate baseball community and I know our players look forward to playing in front of them next season.”

That news release had to come from the headquarters of the Augusta GreenJackets owners in Atlanta. What a slap in the face to North Augustans, especially its taxpayers, now saddled with an $80 million debt to finance SRP Park and its amenities, the new location of the Augusta GreenJackets.

Just how much does the city of Augusta have invested in Riverside Village (née Project Jackson)? Just how much have the owners of the Augusta GreenJackets invested in North Augusta?

It’s becoming more apparent that the Augusta GreenJackets shall remain just that. Where they play is actually not that important, just so long as its very erudite businessmen owners make money from allowing North Augusta the privilege of quartering their team.

This very one-sided financial arrangement was supported and executed by the elected officials of North Augusta and by the city manager appointed by them. And that’s North Augusta’s problem – allowing a bunch of neophytes untrained in very large business transactions to deal with a bunch of experienced, smart businessmen who know what they are doing.

As a previous member of the city council of North Augusta so succinctly stated, “In 30 years, either the taxpayers of North Augusta or the city’s bondholders will own a 30-year old Class A baseball stadium.”

In actuality, that’s what it all boils down to – whether or not that $80 million investment makes a profit for the city of North Augusta.

H. Perry Holcomb

North Augusta, S.C.

 

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