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Judge: Augusta GreenJackets ballpark project can move forward

Augusta GreenJacketsProject Jackson, an ambitious mixed-use development that includes a new Augusta GreenJackets (Low Class A; Sally League) ballpark, can move forward after a judge ruled North Augusta (S.C.) properly authorized a TIF district to partially provide financing.

South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Ernest Kinard ruled that North Augusta could indeed create a TIF district to back Project Jackson, a $144-million development that also includes a hotel and conference center, retail, residential and the new GreenJackets ballpark. A local resident had challenged the standing of the TIF district, saying there was no evidence the development site was blighted, a status required by state law. (A TIF district diverts increased property taxes back to developers as a financing mechanism.) From the Augusta Chronicle:

“The City of North Augusta is pleased with the ruling from Judge Kinard,” North Augusta City Administrator Todd Glover said in a statement. “The judge found that the city followed the law in every detail in pursuing the project. After over 12 public meetings, the approval of three local governments and now an expansive review by the courts, it is our hope that the city will now be able to move forward with this exciting project.”

Kinard’s order was not filed Tuesday with the Aiken County Clerk of Court. Glover said Kinard informed attorneys for both sides of the lawsuit of his decision on Monday, but the city does not have a signed order yet.

The GreenJackets ownership has been working on a Lake Olmstead Stadium replacement for years, first in the city of Augusta and now across the river in South Carolina. No word on whether a new ballpark could be completed for the 2016 season.

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