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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mosovich
768
Points
mosovich 09/17/13 - 08:57 pm
9
2
Disappointment..

I REALLy hope I'm wrong, but right now I feel like this will be a failure and the County Commission didn't give on hoot what the people of Aiken county wanted and this will be a vote for something most will regret.. I'm sure the voters will speak their mind come election time..

augusta citizen
9119
Points
augusta citizen 09/17/13 - 09:35 pm
7
3
Bittersweet

I know a number of fine folks who were hoping for this. People I'm very fond of that are probably very happy with this outcome. I hope that it works out for N. Augusta, I don't really believe it is for the best, but hope it is.

Little Lamb
45283
Points
Little Lamb 09/17/13 - 10:49 pm
11
1
. . . for the best . . .

There is no absolute way to measure "for the best." It is completely in the eyes of the beholder. But you can be assured that the taxpayers of Aiken County will be a little poorer after building this ballpark, parking deck, and convention center for the fat cat developers and ball team owners.

BigChuck2035
7
Points
BigChuck2035 09/17/13 - 11:02 pm
2
9
Project Jackson

It's good that the Aiken County Council, past the third reading to make Project Jackson a reality as a citizen of the North Augusta, and a registered voter. I believe this is what North Augusta need it, we just can't be a sleepy little country bed and breakfast town when we have a chance of becoming a booming metropolis on this side of the river.
The naysayers speak of big-money millionaires wanting to build in our town what's wrong with that if it benefits us all. We should all wake up and smell the coffee and if you don't like coffee smell the roses.

zcock
60
Points
zcock 09/17/13 - 11:02 pm
1
11
So Much for Understanding the TIF

Aiken County is NOT building this with Taxpayer money!!!! It will be built with money that will come from future tax on the value of the land and buildings after they are built. No buildings no money. The city of NA is ultimately responsible for paying the bonds. They just asked the County and School Board to defer the future increased tax revenue to help them(NA) in pay the bonds.
Once it is all paid for the County and School Board will reap in the success of the Project.

Little Lamb
45283
Points
Little Lamb 09/17/13 - 11:15 pm
10
2
No taxpayer money?

zcock swallowed the Kool-Aid.

zcock
60
Points
zcock 09/17/13 - 11:50 pm
3
9
So Little Lamb

Is Aiken County or The Aiken County School Board going to be cutting checks to this project? Where do you think the money is coming from Mr. Negative?

Riverman1
82274
Points
Riverman1 09/18/13 - 12:00 am
8
3
Told ya this was a done deal.

Told ya this was a done deal.

nocnoc
41211
Points
nocnoc 09/18/13 - 06:00 am
10
1
Welcome to the ARC World

of Taxpayer Wasted $$$$$$

To the quick appeasing adendum
"...to provide more money to the county if revenue exceeds projections..."

Don't hold your breath Aiken Co.

Why is the Aiken School Board involved in Gambling?
Because that is what has been done with the future Education of Aiken Students.

Dixieman
14392
Points
Dixieman 09/18/13 - 06:09 am
5
1
From "Goodnight, Moon," 2013 edition.

Goodnight, bankrupt cities in California.
Goodnight, Detroit.
Goodnight, Augusta.

t3bledsoe
14250
Points
t3bledsoe 09/18/13 - 06:33 am
8
0
Dixieman @ 6:09

For all of you that are against Project Jackson, I thank you for your comments!! I agree, it may very well cost the tax payers MUCH, MUCH more tax dollars than they are saying!!

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 09/18/13 - 06:47 am
0
0
Surprise, Surprise The Ben Dover Taxpayer Circus comes to N.A.
Unpublished

Surprise, Surprise The Ben Dover Taxpayer Circus comes to N.A.

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 09/18/13 - 06:49 am
0
0
If this is a great project. Profitable. Why not private $$$$?
Unpublished

If this is a great project. Profitable. Why not private $$$$?

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 09/18/13 - 06:50 am
0
0
Congratulations to the desspots on the hill in N.A.
Unpublished

Congratulations to the despots on the hill in N.A.

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 09/18/13 - 06:51 am
0
0
S.C. 50th in education. 50th in literacy. Top 10 foreclosures.
Unpublished

S.C. 50th in education. 50th in literacy. Top 10 foreclosures.

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 09/18/13 - 06:52 am
0
0
Let the government entertainment of the peasants begin
Unpublished

Let the government entertainment of the peasants begin

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 09/18/13 - 06:53 am
0
0
Ben Dover will say "I love you" and give your a kiss. Shame on U
Unpublished

Ben Dover will say "I love you" and give your a kiss. Shame on U

Little Lamb
45283
Points
Little Lamb 09/18/13 - 07:14 am
8
1
Parking Deck

When Augusta Commissioners decided to finance a city-owned parking deck on land owned by an LLC, they never told us taxpayers that the city would be "cutting checks" to Riverfront LLC to operate the parking deck. But those checks are now being cut every month.

When the new government-owned parking deck is built in North Augusta, to whom will the operating, maintenance, and management fee checks be cut? No one bothered to ask about this, but for zcock to believe that taxpayers will have no expenses in building and running these new enterprises is naïve.

etlinks
20274
Points
etlinks 09/18/13 - 07:43 am
6
0
Ok lets wait and see how good this can be.

Councilman Phil Napier again unsuccessfully attempted to table the ordinance so it could go to a referendum. Thank you Phil for trying and maybe some changes will be made at the next election.

etlinks
20274
Points
etlinks 09/18/13 - 07:52 am
6
0
Remember these names election time.

The final vote was six to three – Council members Kathy Rawls, Willar Hightower and Phil Napier opposed the motion. Council members Andrew Siders, LaWana McKenzie, Sandy Haskell, Scott Singer, Chuck Smith and Chairman Ronnie Young approved the intergovernmental agreement

mosovich
768
Points
mosovich 09/18/13 - 08:21 am
7
1
BigChuck 2035 If I wanted..

If I wanted to live in a big metropolis with all the traffic and people cutting people off etc I'd moved to Columbia Cty.. I wanted what most people want in N. Augusta, a nice quiet town where there is little traffic and people get along.. Now this whole area around the bridge is going to become a congested nightmare and I know a lot of property owners on Lakeshore Dr are getting ready to bug out.. Can't wait for those in Hammonds Ferry to start griping with the fireworks go off every night there's a home game and people cutting through their neighborhood.. I bet their support will boom as well..

Riverman1
82274
Points
Riverman1 09/18/13 - 08:59 am
6
1
Olmstead Stadium

The Project Jackson stadium opens for the 2015 season. It's time for the city and ASU to work together to ensure the transition to a state owned, college Olmstead Stadium goes well. ASU should start playing more games there next year in preparation for the full takeover. Any plans for a new baseball field at the Wrightsboro Rd. complex should be shelved.

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 09/18/13 - 08:59 am
0
0
The 3rd time was the charm. Cha Ching for the N.A. Despots.
Unpublished

The 3rd time was the charm. Cha Ching for the N.A. Despots.

Bubbalicious
28
Points
Bubbalicious 09/18/13 - 09:00 am
7
0
We won't forget

We'll remember the ones who destroyed our peaceful riverfront and "sleepy little town" for profit and greed.

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 09/18/13 - 09:00 am
0
0
Maybe the ball team should be named "The Elites of N.A."
Unpublished

Maybe the ball team should be named "The Elites of N.A."

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 09/18/13 - 09:01 am
0
0
What do you do when you have sold most of the swamp land?
Unpublished

What do you do when you have sold most of the swamp land?

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 09/18/13 - 09:02 am
0
0
You have the taxpayers buy the rest. Cha Ching for developers.
Unpublished

You have the taxpayers buy the rest. Cha Ching for developers.

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 09/18/13 - 09:03 am
0
0
N.A. Elites have won three games & the stadium is not built.
Unpublished

N.A. Elites have won three games & the stadium is not built.

countyman
19719
Points
countyman 09/18/13 - 09:51 am
3
7
Metropolis

Mosovich.. I definitely understand your point, but Columbia County is nowhere close to being a big metropolis.. North Augusta is closer to the old city of Augusta compared to anywhere in Columbia County. Aiken county with an population of 160k is larger than the 125k residents living in Columbia County..

I think people seem to always forget about Harlem, Appling, and Grovetown..

The development should help out North Augusta, but the leaders need to make to stop using the Greenville comparisons. Greenville is the main city of a metro with over 800k people. North Augusta is a suburb with around 50k(including the surrounding area near city limits).

Riverman1
82274
Points
Riverman1 09/18/13 - 09:57 am
4
2
Not That Crowded in Columbia County

Mosovich, I understand the desire not to live in a booming place like Columbia County, but keep in mind, the demographics of the county are much different than Richmond, plus there is still lots of space. The income level is much higher and the schools much better with a low crime rate. It's not as difficult to live there as you might imagine.

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