Residents say Project Jackson has split Hammond's Ferry's commun - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Residents say Project Jackson has split Hammond's Ferry's community

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George Batten steps into what he calls his piece of paradise, a garden at his Hammond's Ferry home; but he thinks the peaceful atmosphere is being threatened by Project Jackson.

"It's just the wrong place to put a stadium," said Batten.  

He says he's only opposed to the stadium, but he would like to see the hotel, restaurants and boutiques come to the riverfront.

The $160 million development would be funded with tax increment financing; and that requires approval from the school board and the county council.

City administrator Todd Glover expects them to make a final decision on Project Jackson in a couple weeks.

Bill Smith designs properties for the neighborhood and he hopes Project Jackson will be approved.

"My gut feeling is that it will pass, I think it's an asset to North Augusta. I think it will bring in a lot of business to the community," Smith, said.

Batten believes the proposal has split the community and he says the dozens of signs dotting the community are a good indication that he's right. 

"It has been divisive; so I think it raises some hard feelings for people, like why do you feel that way and how can you possibly feel that way? So I think that's disappointing," said Batten.

He moved here four years ago and he says he chose to retire in Hammond's Ferry because of the friendly and quiet neighborhood. But he says he's afraid the area will change dramatically if a minor league baseball stadium is built nearby.

Batten said he sees it differently, "I don't think it's going to hurt the residential feel here."

Glover says the group that would build the baseball stadium would also develop most of the city center. Glover says that means if the stadium isn't approved the rest of the project may fall apart too.

This is probably the final chance to approve Project Jackson, according to Glover.

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