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GreenJackets ballpark project moves forward

Proposed Augusta GreenJackets ballpark

Tax-increment financing for Project Jackson, which contains a new Augusta GreenJackets (Low Class A; Sally League) ballpark, received approval from the local school district last night.

The approval came with a few strings, however. Most prominent: none of the TIF proceeds generated by school-district participation can go toward financing the new ballpark. Instead, funds must be devoted to the other parts of the Project Jackson development, which includes a conference center, hotel, apartments, retail and office space. Whether this impact the ballpark remains to be seen: devoting more money to one part of the development (say, the conference center) will inevitably free up money for another part of the development. However, politically, this allows the school district to say they denied public financing for the new ballpark.

From the Augusta Chronicle:

North Augusta presented a new model in May for the TIF district that would be used to fund the project over 30 years. It would allow the city to collect the tax revenue on the incremental difference between rising Aiken County property values and values frozen at 1996 levels for 30 years.

The revised plan calls for 11 percent of the financing to come from the school district, and the money would not be used to fund the construction of a baseball stadium. The district would be allowed to exit the TIF after 15 years.

The city would also provide a summary report to the district annually.

Next up: the Aiken County Board, which rejected the earlier financing proposal.

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