AP NEWS

North Augusta City Council gets development update

July 25, 2017 GMT

NORTH AUGUSTA — Solar energy and riverside development dominated the public discussion Monday evening in the North Augusta City Council’s study session.

First up was the possibility of the municipal government entering into a contract with Clean Energy Collective, or CEC, in association with South Carolina Electric and Gas, to draw power from “solar gardens” in such communities as Hampton and Springfield. Providing an overview was CEC representative Kevin Morse, who described the proposal as “very simple” and “very easy.”

“The opportunity was presented for us to save a lot of money with the solar,” said Todd Glover, the municipal administrator, “and ... we don’t have to put facilities on top of our buildings. It’s just something that we can opt into and save about $70,000 a year, so that got our attention.”

Councilman Fletcher Dickert commented, “This proposal seems like a no-brainer for the city. Sounds almost too good to be true, which caused us to question it.”

Councilman Ken McDowell said, “It sounds like there’s no risk, and that’s why it bothers me.”

Tax credits are available, Glover said, adding, “More than likely, you’ll see this on our next agenda, to be voted on.”

Mayor Bob Pettit commented, “It still seems to good to be true.”

Giving an overview of the Project Jackson/Riverside Village situation was James Dean, vice president of Atlanta-based Greenstone Properties, which is heading up the project to add such features as a baseball stadium, various housing options, retail space and a hotel to the area between Hammond’s Ferry and the James U. Jackson Memorial Bridge, near Brick Pond Park

Dean addressed recent weeks of progress and shared some insight on what the next few months are likely to bring.

The stadium, he confirmed, is still on track for completion by April 2018. “They’re making great progress on foundations ... There’s a lot of steel standing .... Long story short, I think we’re in good shape to deliver this project on time.”

He touched on a variety of aspects, ranging from apartments and single-family homes to a senior-living facility and the various businesses that have expressed interest in having a presence in the massive riverside development, including a Crowne Plaza hotel, which is one of the project’s pillars.

“Sounds like everything is on schedule,” noted councilman Pat Carpenter.

Dickert echoed, “It’s good. I mean, the project’s on track and things are moving along.”

The gathering also included an executive session, which was the final item of business.