Two weeks ago the Aiken county council voted against “Project Jackson” which means North Augusta officials are back to the drawing board.
North Augusta officials say they are still trying to make the project happen. They just need to sell a new plan to the county council and the school board.
With all of this is happening behind the scenes, it seems like a perfect opportunity for Augusta to swoop in to try to keep the GreenJackets in the Garden City.
The Augusta GreenJackets have two weeks to prep before their 2013 season opener at Lake Olmstead Stadium. In North Augusta, city leaders will be looking for an alternative plan to bring the team to their side of the river. After the aiken county council voted the project down, many believed “Project Jackson” was dead.
“No, it's not dead at all. I think there is still interest from the GreenJackets. There is still interest from the other components of Project Jackson. We have said all along this is not just a stadium project,” says North Augusta City Administrator Todd Glover.
The GreenJackets decided to move across the river after Augusta officials failed to come up with a plan to build them a new stadium. With so much uncertainty about “Project Jackson” right now, Mayor Deke Copenhaver could try to keep the team in Augusta, but he says he's rooting for Mayor Lark Jones.
“He says that it's still moving forward so I'm not going to try to poach that project away from them and to my mind, we are all one region so no I'm not going to try to go after it at this point,” says Copenhaver.
Glover says they initially told the GreenJackets that they didn't want to do business with them until talks with Augusta stopped first.
“We think they're committed to this. They have indicated they are committed to this and so are we. So I think up and until the time we find that the project won't work, I think everybody is committed to making it work,” says Glover
The Augusta GreenJackets have not been shy about the fact that they want a new stadium. So when they finally get that new ballpark, what does that mean for Lake Olmstead Stadium?
“There are several opportunities to repurpose it. Our local universities, Paine College could potentially use it, so there are a number of options but we really haven't discussed those to this point,” says Copenhaver.
North Augusta Officials say they are busy crunching the numbers for the alternative plan. They say it will take some time, but they expect the new plan to be released in a few weeks.