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The City of North Augusta
received the Joseph P. Riley Award for its Riverside Village project. Officials
accepted the award during the Municipal Association of South Carolina’s Annual
Meeting on July 20. The city won in the economic development category. Twenty-nine
cities and towns submitted their projects and initiatives.
North Augusta’s location
across the Savannah River from the much larger population center of Augusta,
Ga., has historically caused difficulties in attracting and recruiting
restaurants and retail to its side of the state line. In response to that
challenge, the city built Riverside Village, a $230-million project developed
in partnership with Greenstone Properties. So far, the complex includes SRP
Park, the new home of the Augusta GreenJackets stadium, as well as a hotel,
apartments and two parking decks.
Today’s city leaders feel
that the project fulfills some of the dreams of James U. Jackson, who in the
late 19th century drove the development of North Augusta, including
the Hampton Terrace Hotel that served as an enormous luxury resort until it
burned in 1916.
City leaders said the project
mentality was not “build it and they will come,” but rather “we will build if
you will build.” The city worked with Aiken County and the Aiken County School
District to create a tax increment financing district. Between the three
entities, 23 public hearings were eventually held on the project. The city
brought in financial advisors to create funding scenarios to see which levels
of development would generate enough revenue to pay for the project, and more
than 93 scenarios were modelled. The city also created a municipal improvement
district, in which the developer would be obligated to make payments to the
city equal to projected property taxes if the construction did not take place.
More development is planned
in the park through 2020, and the city hopes that development spurred by the
effort will spread into downtown North Augusta, situated next to the
“Officials with the City of
North Augusta have started a commercial renaissance in the city with Riverside
Village,” said Eric Budds, interim executive director for the Municipal
These winning entries represent innovative projects
undertaken by Municipal Association member cities and towns. Information and a
video about the project are available on the Association’s website www.masc.sc
(keyword: Achievement Awards).
The Municipal Association of South Carolina initiated
the Achievement Awards in 1987 to recognize and encourage innovations and
excellence in local government.