News 12 This Morning
August 15, 2013
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW)--"That's a vision that I think is beautiful. And it's a place that I want my family," said Turner Simkins.
Simkins is talking about Project Jackson.
A vision is almost a reality, now that the Aiken County School board has voted in favor of a TIF plan to finance the project.
"It's been a long few months, it's nice to see," he said.
The $150 million project would bring a band new sports entertainment complex where the GreenJackets would play--plus a new hotel, restaurants, a conference center and more to the area.
Simkins has been involved with the project idea for more than 10 years and he says one reason he supports it is because he feels it's an investment for his children's future.
"It's a place where they can ride their bikes," said Simkins. "It's a place where they can walk down the street and get an ice cream."
But some families are concerned the additions will bring noise, an issue Simkins says won't be a problem.
"Just right next to Hammonds Ferry, the North Augusta Recreation Facility which has about eight baseball fields," he said. "It's not going to be any louder than that."
Another concern is an increase in traffic and in crime. But, Simkins says the city's plan for increased security would keep the streets clear and safe.
"The city has proposed security, they've proposed closing off streets," Simkins said. "We're going to have more people down here for the Christmas parade than we're going to have at a baseball game,"
The Aiken County Council votes next week on whether the project will move forward, a vote Simkins hopes will pass for the community's sake.
"The scale of this project is very much family oriented and it's the type of place that children are going to learn that there are better ways to live."
But, not everyone agrees with Simkins. I wanted to know what more of you felt about this issue, so I took to social media.
Via "News 12's This Morning" Facebook page, Peter Clark says, "It's pretty cool for the city of North Augusta, but my take on it is that a lot of homeowners [aren't] going to like it."
Kenny Bobby writes, "Embarrassing. Augusta is losing another professional sports team."
Karin Sherman says, "It's a waste of space and money. Those thinking this will bring new places need to stop kidding themselves."