WRINKLES: City must move forward or stagnate
When water stands without running, it stagnates. When fruit remains on a tree too long, it rots. If a person does not continue to learn in life, their life becomes dull. Life must move forward.
There are cities that are rotting from within because of stagnation. Moving forward is a good thing if the moving is controlled.
North Augusta has moved at a slow pace, carefully planning every move for the advantage of the citizens. Now, there is a big project being planned that will double or triple the amount of activity in the city.
When asked, the mayor said, "The residents would not have a vote on the project. These kinds of decisions are why you elect a mayor and council to lead the city."
He also said what was announced was a proposal made to the city, far from a done deal. My big concern was how this is to be paid for or if the taxpayer would end up paying for everything if the deal fell through.
His answer, "The project will pay for itself by a combination of rent by the team, parking tax revenues, event seat taxes paid by those who attend events, hospitality taxes created by restaurants, hotel taxes paid by those staying in the hotel and tax increments given off by the improvements. The bonds issued to pay for the City's portion of improvements are revenue bonds to be paid by the revenues generated by the project. The full faith and credit of the City is not required. We have hired an independent investment counselor well versed in municipal financing to guide us, review everything and make sure we are conservative in our estimates."
It certainly sounds as if every "T" has been crossed and every "I" dotted for this project.
I have heard many discussions regarding the project, pros and cons. Greenville did add a stadium, but it was put into an area that had stagnated, and the stadium was a big improvement. This stadium will be going into a beautiful new community and my question would be: Will this take away from the beauty of nature we are able to see?
Looking across the river at the Augusta Riverwalk, I remember writing stories covering the beginning of this project and everyone was so excited. One of my art classes took our boards and painted there. This beautiful project, with flowers and "class" has deteriorated where people are actually afraid to walk at night. One wonders what happened to the funds that were designated for this project and why it has been left to be desecrated. Large projects such as these need real long-term planning. North Augusta is a great place to live and even though we would like to retain that "small town" flavor, we realize that without moving forward, it will stagnate.
"No one applauds the fiddle after the concert - they only applaud the fiddler." - Anonymous