Aiken Co. council approves Project Jackson after last minute negotiations

The Aiken County council voted 6 to 3 in favor of participating in the financing of Project Jackson for 30 years Tuesday night.

But some last minute negotiating had to take place before they approved the deal, according to Andrew Siders, the council member for district seven.

Before voting on the development, the council amended an ordinance to allow for more growth on their money that will be tied to Project Jackson.

"We're very pleased with the compromise that was reached," said North Augusta city administrator Todd Glover.

Glover believes the city and county council have finally settled on a deal that benefits both parties.

The city believes the value of the buildings and property proposed for Project Jackson will grow at least 3% every year during the 30 years the county council is involved in the Tax Increment Financing district.

"What they've asked for is if the TIF increases in value year-to-year more than 3% that they'd be able to get 1% of that back to them," Glover, said.

While Glover says that's a fair deal, Debbie Nix, an opponents of the riverfront development, believes the council members failed to represent their constituents.

"This is a show of government unlike any that we've seen because the people came out, the people spoke, the people sent emails and they called their representatives and the representatives did not represent the people," she said.

The developer of Project Jackson Chris Schoen is now looking ahead to what will have to be done for the final group that will vote on Project Jackson, the North Augusta City Council.

"What we're going to now do is really break down the individual components. They're going to want to understand the project schedules, exactly what components will go in place from the apartments to the single family to the retail, to the office," said Schoen.

Project Jackson officials are now looking to the North Augusta city council to pass an ordinance, which requires three readings and a public hearing.

If the riverfront development is approved, the city will secure contracts with the developer and then go through the design and the bidding process.

City Council members say it may be a year before construction starts if they approve the project.