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North Augusta to reveal 'Project Jackson' details

Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 1:50 PM
Last updated Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012 1:55 AM
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North Augusta officials say they’ll disclose Wednes­day the details of “Project Jackson,” a proposed major, multiuse riverfront project widely rumored to include a new stadium for the Augusta GreenJackets.

North Augusta City Ad­min­­istrator Todd Glover said the announcement comes in response to rampant speculation and concern about a project that some area residents believe is up for final approval at Monday’s North Augusta City Council meeting.

A third reading of a land development agreement that provides for an extended timeline in the event Project Jackson comes to fruition does go before the council Monday, but the measure will require public approval before advancing, with details of that process and a timeline to be released Wednesday, Glover said.

“There will be opportunities for public input, but there will not be a referendum,” he said. “We’re putting the details out, saying, ‘Here are the details, and if you don’t like it, that’s OK.’ ”

Neither Glover, May­or Lark Jones, City Coun­cilman Arthur Shealy nor Ham­mond’s Ferry developer Turner Simkins would deny that Project Jackson involves a facility suitable for minor league baseball, of the type that GreenJackets’ owner Ripken Baseball has long sought to replace Lake Olmstead Stadium in Augusta.

The 44-acre site adjoins Hammond’s Ferry at the 13th Street-Georgia Avenue bridge, diagonally across the Savannah River from the 17-acre former Georgia Golf Hall of Fame tract, where Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver sought, until its transfer to Georgia Health Sciences University, to build a multipurpose stadium for the GreenJackets.

Simkins, who served on Copenhaver’s stadium steering committee, denied being “a participant” in any North Augusta baseball-specific discussions but said the
development of a town-center style complex at the
riverbank was long in the making and long a part of Hammond’s Ferry’s development plans.

“Hammond’s Ferry is designed to be around the town center,” he said, and the development “is going to be the single nucleus of North Augusta.”

What is in the works will complement the 200-acre new urbanist-style Hammond’s Ferry, nearly half of which is dedicated to greenspace, but will become a major attraction, “the only urban destination on the Savannah River that truly is a public destination,” he said.

Jeff Eiseman, the Ripken vice president of sales and marketing and a longtime participant in Augusta’s stadium initiative, also hasn’t denied the baseball stadium rumors. Eiseman promised “lots of things to announce” connected to the club this week but did not return phone calls Thursday or Friday.

The development allows for construction of a parking deck and will involve numerous parties including Aiken County and the Aiken County schools, Glover said. Project Jackson developers will be introduced to the public Wednesday, he said.

The agreement locks in zoning at the site and provides for North Augusta to complete a road and a riverwalk-style park on the water’s edge, whether Project Jackson occurs or not.

One of two city council members to vote against the agreement, Shealy said it gives Hammond’s Ferry too much leverage over the city and is insufficient to govern the arrival of Project Jackson, which he said “will be several degrees of magnitude greater” than the document indicates.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: “Major Multi-Use Development Proposal” announcement

WHEN: 7:15 a.m. Wednesday

WHERE: North Augusta Community Center

COST: $15 for non-chamber members

RSVP: Call North Augusta Chamber of Commerce by 5 p.m. Monday at (803) 279-2323

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itsanotherday1
42881
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itsanotherday1 12/15/12 - 12:46 pm
2
1
Countyman

To answer your previous question about the wisdom of pulling amenities like the stadium away from Augusta. You've answered it yourself above; Augusta citizens WON'T support it, so let it go somewhere they will. A lot of people are uncomfortable with the neighborhoods of both the Greenjackets and Riverhawks, so move them to the burbs. Attendance would double for both teams if the arenas were in a clean, safe, more upscale part of town. That is a win-win.

itsanotherday1
42881
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itsanotherday1 12/15/12 - 01:01 pm
6
1
"I seriously doubt Clarks Hills even gets 200k per year. "

Really? "The 70,000-acre reservoir normally has more than 6 million visitors annually and recorded 6,859,806 visitors in fiscal 1999."

http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2001/03/13/met_306894.shtml

Naturally, that is way off the past year or two due to low lake levels, but "normally" it is 6,000,000 visits/year; a wee bit more than 200K.

omnomnom
3964
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omnomnom 12/15/12 - 01:02 pm
2
0
Its been known for a long

Its been known for a long time that Cal Ripken would leave Augusta if a new stadium in a better location was not prooffered [you mean paid for by taxpayers]...a pure business decision...and poor leadership from Augusta officials!

Who really cared who the owner of a team is? Like the name "Greenjackets" would've flown in any city other than Augusta.

It was always an empty threat.

Ripken baseball is selling, not moving.

dichotomy
32737
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dichotomy 12/15/12 - 03:06 pm
5
1
"If you leave Richmond County

"If you leave Richmond County to shop, then you clearly want to"..........SAVE MONEY ON SPLOSTs and TSPLOST taxes. Everything is cheaper and shopping is safer in North Augusta.....especially for the South Siders.....and the cheaper gas prices make the drive worth it.

As for the lack of comments about how stupid North Augusta is for even thinking about building this stadium..... First, we don't have the details of the proposed deal. No doubt the North Augusta politicians are probably smart enough to negotiate a better deal than the ones our officials have gotten us embroiled in lately. But the biggest thing is that the North Augusta taxpayers are not reeeling from being screwed so badly on paying for the TEE Center, parking deck, associated screwups and giveaways to private individuals, AND the total lies about what it was going to cost us AND the total mismanagement and skyrocketing cost of the remodeling of the Municipal Building. IN OTHER WORDS, WE NO LONGER TRUST OUR OFFICIALS TO TAKE ON ANY SIGNIFICANT SPENDING PROJECTS. Your track record sucks.

Not to mention that the property owners of HALF of the land mass in this county are being taxed by an ILLEGAL tax system and are taking a royal screwing on how we are taxed, where the money gets spent, and the amount of services they receive because they have no representation on the commission. Seventeen years of "trickle down from DOWNTOWN economics" is not working for the South Side. The only trickle down we have gotten is your displaced Section 8 criminals. I see Paul and Billy and the rest of Riverfront LLC are doing pretty well but me, not so good. My 40 rocks in my ditch ain't giving me that free TEE center, parking deck, and elevated crosswalk warm fuzzy that Paul and his buddies are getting from MY tax dollars. If you don't understand the South Side's frustration and skepticism about living under the TAX thumb of the consolidated "City" then you are pretty dense. Under the benevolent dictatorship of the downtown commissioners we have watched our end of the county deteriorate to one step above Mogadishu. Closed businesses, boarded up empty buildings, armed criminals roaming the streets sticking guns in people's faces, people afraid to go out of their house and now afraid to go back in their house if they've been somewhere.

Countyman, do not be admonishing us for the complaints and skepticism we voice on here because we, by god, have earned and paid for the right to complain by living through the results of consolidation and the rot it has wreaked on the South Side. The downtown leadership has earned every negative comment and criticism they get from the South Side by their neglect and theft of funds and services from our area.

So, grab your 9MM and come on out to the place and we will discuss it. Drive gingerly over my driveway culvert since it is subject to collapse at any time. We will run up to the local Waffle House, have a cup of coffee, and probably be able to stop an armed robbery. We can start our discussion about the South Side with the 17 years of your ILLEGAL PROPERTY TAX SYSTEM and OUTRAGEOUS, DOUBLED GARBAGE FEES, and the proposed RAIN TAX FOR A STORMWATER SYSTEM WE DON'T HAVE and go from there. I guess we can throw in our recently raised FIRE DEPT TAX ....ON RURAL AND SUBURBAN RESIDENTS ONLY....where a significant portion, probably most, of the money will actually be spent to support residents DOWNTOWN. Afterwards we can come back to the house, if the driveway culvert hasn't collapsed, and you and I can pull our weapons and clear the house before we relax and have a drink.

Conservative Man
5564
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Conservative Man 12/15/12 - 02:13 pm
4
0
As usual...

....dichotomy nails it!!

If city "leaders" had not screwed up the last few projects they've put forth then their credibility would be better....

..Right now I wouldn't trust them to build a little league softball field, much less what will probably be going to N.Augusta.

countyman
20044
Points
countyman 12/15/12 - 03:30 pm
2
3
''The difference in this deal

''The difference in this deal is instead of the entire county supporting the downtown area of Augusta funding a stadium, the small city of North Augusta, not Aiken County, will pay any public funds required. Hopefully, the demographics of N. Augusta are so much superior with higher income levels and it's such a safe place, private investors are willing to foot the bill.''

Riverman.... Hephzibah and Blythe aren't consolidated with Richmond County.

What area in the metro are you comparing North Augusta against? The GGHF site was the first choice, and even the VAR site got mentioned before North Augusta. I'm not taking anything away from North Augusta, but there's both richer and safer areas.

I love how Riverman continues to pump up North Augusta, but the CBD has the more the expensive real estate.

countyman
20044
Points
countyman 12/15/12 - 03:45 pm
2
2
Itsanotherday.. I do agree

Itsanotherday.. The overwhelmingly majority of negative comments towards proposed ideas in Richmond County. Those people usually live outside of the county. All you have to do is look at the comments on the TEE? The citizens of Richmond County voted for the building.

I do agree the attendance would double if the stadium were moved to more upscale part of town..

The only problem with the statement is North Augusta is by far from being more upscale than the CBD. Why do you think the riverfront of Augusta was the preferred choice?

The real estate prices clearly show the Central Business District is more expensive in 2012.

The arena is doing better than ever before. Carrie Underwood will be here next year, and Elton John came here in March.

I don't know about the number of visitors in 1999, but in lately its under 200k..

''With 161,000 visitors a year, whether you call it Clarks Hill or Lake Thurmond, the lake is one of the area's largest tourist attractions. ''
http://www.wrdw.com/home/headlines/New-partnership-to-help-Army-Corps-Cl...

countyman
20044
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countyman 12/15/12 - 03:59 pm
1
2
Dichotomy.. Neither you or

Dichotomy.. Neither you or the usual suspects(who bash anything new proposed Richmond County) knew all of the details before, but it didn't stop the comments..

Why do the same people want to take the wait and see approach now? At first, it was nothing but them telling people how Augusta is paying for the entire stadium.

The TEE Center was approved by the citizens of Richmond County. The mismanagement deal is totally different, and not related to the actual construction.

I also don't understand how you can think the North Augusta leaders will somehow get a better deal. There's no mention of Jim Jacoby anymore in the development. Cal Ripken is going to sell the Greenjackets to an investment group, and then jump ship. The city of North Augusta doesn't have the amount of funds compared to Augusta.

http://www.georgia.org/SiteCollectionDocuments/Industries/Tourism/Indust...

Lastly, Richmond County is clearly the winner in terms of attracting people from outside the CSRA.

Richmond County= $380 million

Columiba $114, Mcduffie $22 million, Burke $15 million = $151 million.

Including Aiken and Edgefield counties would still be lower..

Riverman1
83543
Points
Riverman1 12/15/12 - 03:55 pm
4
2
Countyman said, "Riverman....

Countyman said, "Riverman.... Hephzibah and Blythe aren't consolidated with Richmond County."

I'm not sure who said they are. Matter of fact, Blythe is in two counties. Richmond and Burke. Did you know that?

What's bringing on this defensive diatribe about how great Augusta is under an article about North Augusta getting the team to move there and a stadium?....I bet that stadium was sour anyway....

Riverman1
83543
Points
Riverman1 12/15/12 - 04:01 pm
4
3
"The TEE Center was approved

"The TEE Center was approved by the citizens of Richmond County. The mismanagement deal is totally different..."

We are slowly making progress. This is a recognition that the TEE approved in the vote is vastly different than how much money was spent.

countyman
20044
Points
countyman 12/15/12 - 04:08 pm
3
1
Earlier you said the entire

Earlier you said the entire county of Richmond was paying for the stadium. That's completely false, because the city of Hephzibah/Blythe weren't apart of the deal.

I love how when facts are presented they're considered dribble, because certain people disagree.

And please, can you save the sad stories for another time. Every day on here no matter the article you love to pump up Columbia County, and tell us how bad certain things are in Richmond County. I mean this is the person who is more interested in the TEE Center than the exhibition hall in Grovetown..

I'm so glad you care so much about RC tax payers, but they approved the TEE Center. I would think you would have a bigger problem with your own leaders spending almost $10 million on the exhibition hall who never got voted on by the public.

countyman
20044
Points
countyman 12/15/12 - 04:13 pm
3
1
Riverman... I'm asking simple

Riverman... I'm asking simple questions, and you want answer them.

How is asking what area were you comparing North Augusta to considered being defensive?

The exhibition hall was NEVER approved by the public.

Okay, so the city of Augusta is worse because they spent more funds than approved.. I hope they're getting the benefit of the doubt, because the center was approved in 2005. Construction cost aren't the same once the building starts in June 2010.

How is this worse than building something nobody in your county approved? The leaders in Columbia County didn't any give you the option to vote yes or no.

Riverman1
83543
Points
Riverman1 12/15/12 - 04:25 pm
4
2
Isanotherday pointed this out

Isanotherday pointed this out referring to Clark's Hill. "The 70,000-acre reservoir normally has more than 6 million visitors annually and recorded 6,859,806 visitors in fiscal 1999."

I bet the river in Richmond County gets a good many visitors, too. Of course the Masters brings in the vast majority of visitors. Honestly, I see few people on the Riverwalk or coming downtown to actually visit. I mean if you want to look at things that way, the mall has a zillion "visitors" a year.

Riverman1
83543
Points
Riverman1 12/15/12 - 04:24 pm
3
1
Was the parking deck or Laney

Was the parking deck or Laney Walker "payoff" ever approved by the voters? Now that's being kind and not even mentioning the increase in the actual cost of the TEE, its kitchen and management fees.

Riverman1
83543
Points
Riverman1 12/15/12 - 04:30 pm
3
2
Student Housing to North Augusta

I wonder if Dr. Azizz could locate student housing in North Augusta since ASU-MCG draws many of its students and patients from SC? It would be a much safer and attractive area to build student housing in North Augusta. We are a two state city afterall we should all realize.

Riverman1
83543
Points
Riverman1 12/15/12 - 04:40 pm
3
2
Airport Next?

It's long been said an airport in Aiken County could serve Columbia and Augusta better than the two current separate airports. Three counties could contribute to this mega airport that could draw airlines unlike nothing Augusta does now.

countyman
20044
Points
countyman 12/15/12 - 04:40 pm
2
1
Trust me, the average 18-30

Trust me, the average 18-30 year would prefer downtown Augusta over North Augusta.

All you have to do is look at where the majority of them live now. Either in the CBD, or very close to the area(Summerville & Olde Town)...

I don't understand why Riverman can't have any debates without taking shots at Richmond County.

Riverman1
83543
Points
Riverman1 12/15/12 - 04:45 pm
2
1
Countyman, I've often seen

Countyman, I've often seen your comments about young single people and gays preferring downtown Augusta. I don't know about that when I look at the demographics of N. Augusta, Aiken and Evans. Why wouldn't any types of people rather live in upscale areas such as these? Strike!!!

Riverman1
83543
Points
Riverman1 12/15/12 - 04:53 pm
3
1
When the Greenjackets leave

When the Greenjackets leave does anyone know a seamstress who can put an N in front of Augusta on their uniforms?

Riverman1
83543
Points
Riverman1 12/15/12 - 05:05 pm
2
0
How does Jim Jacoby feel?

How does Jim Jacoby feel?

dichotomy
32737
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dichotomy 12/15/12 - 05:33 pm
2
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Countyman....." Neither you

Countyman....." Neither you or the usual suspects(who bash anything new proposed Richmond County) knew all of the details before,"

True, but the only experience we had to judge the possible deal was the AWFUL deal we got on the TEE where we authorized $20 million and spent $50 and threw in another $50 on parking deck, losses that were never mentioned in the SPLOST, 2 HVAC systems, operation contracts for the TEE and deck, and a crosswalk. I know those numbers are not exact and may be a bit exaggerated but they are closer to being representative of what went on than what we approved on the SPLOST. And who's fault is it that we didn't know any details. The "secret" negotiations merely heightened suspicions since we were seeing what kind of deals came out of the "secret meetings" that apparently went on years ago about the operation and maintenance of the TEE. God knows what kind of things the mayor would have agreed to in order to get his ball park. You don't get it do you? We've SEEN your "deals" and we are scared to death of them.

"The TEE Center was approved by the citizens of Richmond County. The mismanagement deal is totally different"

NO......$20 million was approved to build the TEE. That IN NO WAY resembled what we got. If you had told the truth about the cost, told us up front what the back door agreements were for operation and maintenance costs, told us the anticipated losses, and told us you were going to submit to the demands of Paul and the Marriott, IT WOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN APPROVED and the whole thing is NOTHING BUT A SOUR TASTE IN OUR COLLECTIVE MOUTH.

"I also don't understand how you can think the North Augusta leaders will somehow get a better deal."

We've seen the deals RC makes with private developers. My opinion, and I am sticking to it, is that a 15 year old could negotiate a better deal for the taxpayers than Russell, our legal beagles, and our mayor and commissioners........for whatever reasons and I have my suspicions.

I'm sorry countyman. We are in South Richmond County. It's hard for us to see past our ditches and tax bills. It's hard for us to have confidence in those who have sucked us dry to pay for their grandiose visions of DOWNTOWN Augusta and relocated their undesirables out our way. Your mantra that all of this is good for "Richmond County" is not entirely true. It MAY be good for some areas of Richmond County but Trickle Down from the City is NOT working for South Richmond County. And I am talking the REAL South Richmond County. The Deans Bridge, Peach Orchard corridors from Gordon Hwy to Hwy 88. We are have dried up and died. The only things on the way up out here are crime and taxes. Trickle Down translates to Tricked Us out here.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/15/12 - 07:49 pm
2
0
Its scary Riverman

I was thinking the same thing.... a foot bridge at Taxpayer expense would be next. Or a Mono-Rail surprisingly starting and ending on River Front LLC property with shuttle service to downtown...

-------
To the earlier commenter about keeping on this side of the River.
What difference does it make which side they play on. WE ARE HAPPY we are not footing the bill.

BUT I am willing to bet the FIX is in for the Old Stadium to be offered to GRU or Paine for college games at A-RC Taxpayer cost.

countyman
20044
Points
countyman 12/15/12 - 08:09 pm
1
1
Where all of these people

Where all of these people 18-30 year single people would prefer the suburbs of North Augusta, Aiken, and Evans versus the urbanity of the CBD?

If you look at demographics then will see it's older families moving to Evans, and definitely not young single professionals. Aiken is based on retirees coming from the north, and not full of young people..

I'm not going to debate whether young gay people would prefer downtown Augusta over the very conservative Evans.

I definitely can't see Columbia/Lexington residents supporting any airport located in Aiken County. The airport in West Columbia is too close in terms of proximity.

Riverman1
83543
Points
Riverman1 12/15/12 - 09:04 pm
1
0
It makes perfect sense for

It makes perfect sense for Augusta and Columbia to share an airport. 30 minutes from the river on I-20 would put you 30 minutes from the center of Columbia. The Columbia Metro Airport has many more flights than Augusta and together, they would be able to attract even more carriers. Their current airport is in a busy area of Columbia and hindered by poor access to I-20. The access is such a problem, they are looking for $90 million to correct the problem.

My farm in Aiken County is about half way and the horse people from up north fly in and out of Columbia. They think it's convenient to drive a half hour. The upscale Columbia County and West Augusta residents could reach an Aiken County airport, right off I-20 just as fast as they can drive out to the Augusta Airport. The joint airport needs to be explored. It would save us all money and create a better airport.

Riverman1
83543
Points
Riverman1 12/15/12 - 09:06 pm
2
0
"I'm not going to debate

"I'm not going to debate whether young gay people would prefer downtown Augusta over the very conservative Evans."

Okay, you are probably right. Gay people prefer Augusta.

Gage Creed
17107
Points
Gage Creed 12/16/12 - 12:25 am
3
0
The stadium is just a

The stadium is just a distraction.....keep your eye on the Lake Olmstead property. Countyman's handlers could care less about minor league baseball.

Little Lamb
45854
Points
Little Lamb 12/16/12 - 01:11 am
2
0
Countyman posted:

Cal Ripken is going to sell the Greenjackets to an investment group, and then jump ship.

Okay, let the chips fall. With Ripken out of the way, the questionable relationship between Deke and Cal will be history. Let the future begin!

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 12/16/12 - 06:54 am
1
0
this is completely off the original topic but

"trust me, the average 18-30 year would prefer downtown Augusta over North Augusta.
All you have to do is look at where the majority of them live now. "

well Countyman, the average in those age brackets aren't able to afford living in one of those newly renovated lofts in the CBD. even if the median income is 30k, most of that skews towards engineers / doctors salaries not your average 18 to 30 year old

i'm just going by what i see with my eyes here

so if i'm completely off, please point me to the census map that should a neighborhood breakdown by age for richmond county.

i would be intrigued

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