Project Jackson gets third-reading approval from Aiken County Council

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It’s a triple for Project Jackson.

The Aiken County Council voted Tuesday in favor of approving third and final reading of the agreement between the county and the city of North Augusta for a modified tax increment financing district that would be used to help fund Project Jackson, a development that would bring a baseball stadium and more to North Au­gusta’s riverfront.

Before voting, the council recessed to receive legal counsel in an executive session that lasted only a few minutes.

Councilman Scott Singer successfully motioned to slightly amend the measure to provide more money to the county if revenue exceeds projections.

Councilman Phil Napier again unsuccessfully attempted to table the ordinance so it could go to a referendum.

In the end, the council voted 6-3 to approve the agreement as amended.

“I see this as progress for Ai­ken County, North Augus­ta. I see it as beneficial to people’s quality of life in our area,” Councilman Chuck Smith said. “We got to grow or we’ll perish if we don’t … I think this project is worthy of moving forward.”

The development includes a stadium for the Au­gus­ta GreenJackets; a 200-room, resort-style hotel and conference center; numerous restaurants; office and retail space; and apartments and townhouses on the North Augusta riverfront.

GreenJackets president and owner Jeff Eiseman was present for the vote and said he was excited about the outcome.

“We’ve been working toward this for a long time, and we’ve never been closer, but it is a tremendous project,” he said. “I know there’s a lot of misinformation out there. There’s $100 million in private development. It’s going to be an economic development piece. It’s going to create jobs. It’s going to change the North Augusta riverfront. It’s going to become a destination. It’s going to change North Augusta. It’s going to make Aiken County that much more of an attraction.

“From the standpoint of the GreenJackets being there, we’re very excited to be in the epicenter of all that,” he said.

Now, the North Augusta City Council must consider the modified tax district proposal and hold three readings and a public hearing, City Administrator Todd Glo­ver said.

The modified district would last for 30 years upon the issuance of the bonds, he said, and “even our model is predicated on us paying off that debt early.”

Even if the city council approves the plan, there is still more work to be done, City Councilman Fletcher Dickert said.

“If that passes, then we’ll have a lot of work trying to bring all of the developers to the table, get all the agreements, get the plans drawn up, and once we have everything finalized then it will go back before city council for another public hearing and three votes to actually borrow the money and go before the planning commission,” he said.

“This is a great step forward but we have a long road ahead of us, but we’re excited about it.”

Staff Writer David Lee contributed to this article.

Comments (31) Add comment
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acstrauss
28
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acstrauss 09/18/13 - 10:05 am
0
8
Time for a name change....

Augusta Greenjackets will now be North Augusta Green Giants. I haven't heard anyone say that the River Golf Club ruined the riverfront. North Augusta needs quality national chain restaurants and hotels. 10 years ago murders and traffic fatalities were rare in North Augusta. Not so much anymore. It's time to grow

DowntownJaguar
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DowntownJaguar 09/18/13 - 10:05 am
2
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Any idea on what the new name will be?

Does anyone have an idea on what the new name of the baseball team will be when they move across the river? Or, will North Augusta keep "GreenJackets." Just curious.

Riverman1
87157
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Riverman1 09/18/13 - 10:19 am
2
1
I'll guess they will still be

I'll guess they will still be known as the Augusta Greenjackets.

Clemsondoc
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Clemsondoc 09/18/13 - 11:03 am
1
7
Future Growth

A lot of of posters seem anti-growth. Maybe they would be better suited living in Barnwell or Allendale counties. I'm a newcomer to the area but own a house and am invested in the area to have a quality place to live and see growth and home value increase. Augusta is lacking severely in entertainment options/diverse job growth compared to a lot of nearby similar sized Southern metros. There is so much potential though. The area needs to be more attractive to young professionals which it currently is not a hot spot for this group. Project Jackson and hopefully an extended beautification and investment on both sides of the river downtown will greatly help. Young professionals are attracted to cities with fun and vibrant downtowns, and you don't have to be the size of Atlanta or Charlotte to have this.

countyman
20631
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countyman 09/18/13 - 12:36 pm
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Everyday we have to listen to

Everyday we have to listen to the rants from Riverman related to Richmond County. Yet, he becomes very sensitive anytime somebody mentions Columbia County. The crime rate, schools, and demographics of Richmond County didn't stop Whole Foods, Cabela's, Michael Kors, Texas Roadhouse, etc from investing millions into the county. Even the Bass Pro is opening on the county line, and the majority of surrounding land is apart of Richmond.

Riverman1
87157
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Riverman1 09/18/13 - 12:42 pm
5
2
Countyman, I love Richmond

Countyman, I love Richmond County even if it is tough love. We should have a white squirrel festival here, too.

countyman
20631
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countyman 09/18/13 - 01:22 pm
2
5
ll

"Tough Love" I don't think constantly bringing up the TEE Center(approved by local taxpayers) compared to the exhibition hall(not approved by local taxpayers) is considered love.

Riverman1
87157
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Riverman1 09/18/13 - 01:37 pm
7
1
I lub Augusta...weally

I lub Augusta...weally.

I have more than a few times said the TEE Center is a reality now and I hope it does well. I've given suggestions about military events there and it looks like we just had one. I also brought up some points about MCG and their conferences that are not using the TEE. One thing I don't want to do is sugar coat the results of the events which have been pretty poor. It is what it is. If Augusta is to improve we have to look at things honestly. (I knew the white squirrel reference would make you so upset you would be like a cat jumping at a bird on the other side of a window pane...and getting the same results.)

Riverman1
87157
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Riverman1 09/18/13 - 04:37 pm
4
1
North Augusta Stings Augusta Bad

Interesting that some Richmond County promoters are upset over this huge project that, make no mistake, will change the face of the CSRA. North Augusta knows how to sting fast like their Yellow Jacket football team.

seenitB4
90981
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seenitB4 09/18/13 - 04:52 pm
2
1
weally rm?

I don't think ctyman will ever believe that you weally lub Augusta...weally, I don't!
:)

jimmymac
42953
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jimmymac 09/18/13 - 06:32 pm
1
0
PROJECT JACKSON
Unpublished

I've been opposed to Project Jackson since it's inception. If it does all the wonderful things the proponents say it will do it would be fantastic. However it has never happened in any towns sporting low level sports franchises. Good money is spent and it never does anything but make the owners and developers money. When the venture bottoms out they move on to the next group of gullible politicians. They're like vultures sucking the resources out of development hungry communities and moving on to the next victim. They pit community against community and go where the grass is greener. Leaving a stadium as empty as their promises.

ken8375309
1667
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ken8375309 09/18/13 - 07:24 pm
3
0
I live in Lakemont

I live in Lakemont, right across the lake. I have lived here for 16 years.. Over the years, I have had patrons stop in front of my house to take care of their business more times than I can count, I have picked up countless beer cans, bottles, etc.. Especially on Thirsty Thursday. I have heard every dog in the neighborhood go crazy and bark for hours after the fireworks show. This is typical and will go on for hours.. I have learned to live with it, but I find it unlikely that those that live on the river will adjust as well as I did..

Little Lamb
47042
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Little Lamb 09/18/13 - 10:59 pm
1
0
Fireworks

Thank you, Ken. I do empathize with your resignation to less than idyllic circumstances. How many night games do the GreenJackets play each year? I'm sure you are glad for the GreenJackets to move to North Augusta.

The reason I ask the question, “How many” is to stress my point that having a ballpark next to your home gives you a few nights a year of annoyance to agony - - - - - but it also gives you many, many more nights of quietude. You have to take the bad with the good.

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