North Augusta could be scaling back plans for Riverside Park

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Monday, May 6th, 2019 / News 12 at 11 o'clock

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - North Augusta could be scaling back on the plans they had for riverside park.

There's one big thing standing in the way of starting construction: the price tag. They may have to make some cuts because the costs are higher than they estimated.

For Nigel Lawrence Riverside Park is just what North Augusta needs.

"You know, music and food--I've always said--those are the two things that bring everybody together," he told News 12.

The park would be built on the water, by the Greeneway. Lawrence is a bartender right next door at Southbound Smokehouse, and is also a musician who DJs around the CSRA.

"Being at the forefront of something that's new, that's exciting, that's just being built, that's exciting for me." he said.

With plans for a 600 seat amphitheater, along with a splash pad, and maybe even a boat dock., he thinks the benefit could be huge. To him, it could be a second, smaller concert venue to SRP Park.

"There's so much talent here--so much potential here," Lawrence said.

But there's one issue. Parks and Rec director Rick Meyer says their budget is around $1.4 million.

"We received two bids on the amphitheater project," Meyer explained.

Those estimates came in around $3.2 million--double their budget.

"There were potential ideas of things we could cut, and obviously when you're that far over budget, you start by looking at your big ticket items," Meyer told News 12.

The new plans are a far cry from the original--with several cost-cutting measures in place. Officials are now talking about doing away with the splash pad--and even the tower gateways.

"You certainly don't want to lose too much of this project," Meyer cautioned.

He says the city of North Augusta is known for quality, and not cutting corners. He knows they might have to make some tough decisions going forward, but also wants them to apply for extra grants to get more money.

"Best case scenario---meet in the middle," Meyer said.

Mayor Bob Pettit also weighed in during the council work session, saying he doesn't want to sacrifice too many amenities either. He really wants this to be a "wow-factor" attraction.

The next steps in terms of development will see staff try to re-engineer a plan to cut costs.

One idea some council members discussed is laying the groundwork for things like the splash pad--so they can come back later and finish the project when they have more money