How North Augusta is Paying for SRP Park

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Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018
(News 12 at 6 O’Clock / NBC 26 News at 7)

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) – Tom and Barbara Ulmer have lived in North Augusta a long time.

"We moved here to start a house--and we've added on a lot--but still the same place."

Forty-three years to be exact. And they've seen the area explode—especially Riverside Village.

"They come over here across that river--and they drive by, and everyone I've seen--their necks are sticking out and they're looking across going 'ooh what's going on over there?!'"

There’s been a lot of financial scrutinies too. But they say it's happening regardless.

"Both of you would like to see it succeed?"

"Yes!"
"Oh yes."
"Absolutely."
"Greatly."

Right now, the city says there are three main projects running behind-- the office building, senior living, and retail construction. None are even under contract.

"All of the indicators we're looking at are that the model has enough conservatism built into it that the city will be able to cover the service payments built into it and not dip into that surplus.”

Walter Goldsmith is the city's financial advisor on the project. He says even if all three were to fail, the city would still have enough to cover its obligations on the $70 million loan the city took out to get the project going.

"If you looked at hospitality tax revenues, parking garage revenues, the baseball stadium revenues, the accommodations tax."

As for the Ulmers, all of this will be a welcome addition to their city.

"Some people like to see change, they like to see new restaurants, they like to see new developments going up."

Goldsmith says about 45% of revenue to pay back the bank will come from Riverside Village itself. The other 55% will come from TIFs and taxes that already exist in the city. He says the only scenario where the city could be in trouble is if all three of those projects fail, and the developers decide to go into foreclosure. Goldsmith calls that “extremely unlikely.”