Mayor, council focusing on projects' potential impact

North Augusta is changing and evolving. The City has come a long way in recent years, and there are even more changes on the horizon. Some may argue that these changes are for the better, others that they may be for the worst.

One of the locations at the very heart of this issue is Brick Pond Park. It's a location that is near and dear to many North Augusta residents' hearts. It's a calm, soothing place that is not only eye-catching and breathtaking to look at, but also serves a crucial function.

The brick ponds' plants were chosen to help filter the storm-water from Hammond's Ferry of pollutants in a natural, effective way. Like so many other projects done by the City, this was put forth through much forethought and planning.

"Before Project Jackson was presented to us, and the original developer, who has done the other, smaller proposal, ... it had become very obvious to me that the citizens of North Augusta have fallen in love with Brick Pond Park," Mayor Lark Jones said. "And it had become sacred, and there wouldn't be any fill-in and that kind of stuff or reclamation of that park. That edge would have to be protected."

A simple stroll through Brick Pond Park presents citizens with an opportunity to see and be a part of nature well within the City limits. It's striking to see the development around the park, yet to also see an untainted area. Simply walking through the park, one can see over the trees to the Municipal Building. Or from the other side, one can peer across to see Hammond's Ferry.

It's easy to see why the area has become sacred to so many, and why Jones and the City Council have come under fire over the potential that the pond is in jeopardy. It also shows the passion of the City and why it is important to not only protect the park, but also allow it to flourish.

It's crucial to point out, however, that Jones has been a vehement supporter of the park. Never once has he publicly shown a plan or stated that it would be harmed. In fact, the plans that have been shown point to the fact that the park and Project Jackson's development would both be able to coexist.

Jones also believes that those who don't support the project use the environment as one of a multitude of reasons to slow down or prevent it from moving forward."The history of the way that the City of North Augusta runs and operates is pretty logical," he said. " ... I'm pretty passionate about it and I've been pounded with it enough, that I've had enough. If you want to argue about where the people are going to park, or how they're going to get out of there, I'll say 'You've got a good question there, we'll have to work on that. If we don't get that solved, there's a no-go there.'"If you want to say there's not enough room down there, I'll say 'You know what, you might be right, we'll have to check on that.' But if you want to say that we're going to shut down Brick Pond Park, I'll say that you're just making up stuff now."

It's obvious for anyone who speaks to Jones or members of the City Council that they take this as a very serious subject. It's also one that they want to make clear to the public that it's not the doomsday situation that many have made it out to be.

That said, there's simply no way to know how this scenario could play out until it happens. Brick Pond Park will continue to exist, but it may lose some of its luster due to the added hustle and bustle. It may not be affected at all and families will be able to enjoy both a day at the park and a ballgame, all within walking distance. We have to trust our elected officials to make the right decisions as they come, but also voice our concerns as they are warranted.