WJBF Investigates: Would Project Jackson's Impact Be Countywide? - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

WJBF Investigates: Would Project Jackson's Impact Be Countywide?

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Aiken County, SC -

Project Jackson moved forward Tuesday night.

The second of three require readings was approved to bring Aiken County into a Tax Financing District (TFD) for the project; that means, giving up added tax value on the property for a defined period of time.

One of the greatest concerns is how Project Jackson will benefit the -rest- of Aiken County.
Ashley Bridges delves into the economic impact.

A project this big - a baseball stadium, apartment buildings, shops and restaurants- adding up to around $150 million is too big for North Augusta alone.

"It's not for North Augusta, it's not for Aiken County, it's for the entire region," Mayor Lark Jones says.

The question that many Aiken County taxpayers who live outside North Augusta want answered:  "What's in it for me?"  The Mayor says, a lot:

"Trickle over economics, to older North Augusta, Augusta, Aiken County," Jones says.

We took that claim to an economist to get concrete ideas about how other parts of Aiken County would or would not benefit.  She says benefits start day one:

"When construction begins, a number of workers will have to be hired," Dr. Liz Stewart, an economist, says.  "Then those folks have to eat sleep and shop and with additional income, they'll be doing more of that."

She also says that while some are scared of Project Jackson because of the word "tax" that the project could actually keep taxes down:

"What's in it for each individual, the more revenue that comes in from the outside, and the more we can maintain tax rates for individuals and home owners at the rates they are," she says.

Stewart says that in addition to jobs created by the riverfront development, other businesses in Aiken County should start hiring.

"For every job created, three or four ancillary jobs are expanded or created," she says.

And she says, those jobs could be anywhere, North Augusta, Aiken, or in between:

"It's time to realize we're one county," Stewart says.  "Aiken is traditionally the center, it's time to embrace North Augusta as a true partner."

"We're part of Aiken County, we pay taxes just like everyone else does," Jones adds.

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