UPDATED ON 6: South Carolina Supreme Court Hears Project Jackson Arguments

UPDATED ON 6: South Carolina Supreme Court Hears Project Jackson Arguments (Image 1)

***UPDATED at 6:16 P.M. on Tuesday, May 5th***

The South Carolina Supreme Court heard more arguments on the Project Jackson case Tuesday morning from a homeowner who is challenging the project’s $183 million financing plan for the project. WJBF News Channel 6’s Mike Miller has the story.

Tuesday morning at the South Carolina Supreme Court, River Club Steve Donohue and his legal team tried to prove that North Augusta’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District for Project Jackson was illegal because the area is not blighted.

“In fact, the actual piece of property that we’re talking about putting the baseball stadium on has increased 5.7 percent in value just since 2007, when it was purchased by the developer,” said Donahue’s lawyer, James Mosteller.

But, North Augusta officials didn’t have much to say about that part of the lawsuit. They feel the financing plan is legitimate and that Project Jackson will be able to move forward.

“Certainly, if we’re going to make that 2017 goal that we have now, things would certainly have to get started at the very latest, early 2016,” said North Augusta City Administrator Todd Glover.

The justices didn’t have a lot of questions about the financing plan. Instead, they had questions about the part of Donohue’s lawsuit that says the city violated the Freedom of Information Act by talking about Project Jackson behind closed doors. “We feel very strongly about the public’s right to know, but there is that fine line of being able to discuss things in private as you develop deals,” said Chief Justice Jean Toal.

Despite the lawsuit, city officials have continued planning Project Jackson, but construction cannot start until the justices reach a decision, which should happen some time this summer.

“You’ve got over 125 million dollars of private investment now. This is a huge project. I mean, it’s got retail, restaurants, a hotel. It’s really just a place that people are going to want to be. It’s a live work and play environment,” said Glover.

We tried to talk to Steve Donohue about Tuesday’s hearing, but he and his legal team did not want to appear on-camera.

City officials are still shooting for a 2017 opening for the new ball park.

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***UPDATED at 10:44 A.M. on Tuesday, May 5th***

The latest hearing concerning Project Jackson in North Augusta is being heard by the South Carolina Supreme Court Tuesday morning.

To view the proceeding live, click here.

The case was scheduled to be heard at 10:30 a.m., but the case being heard before it has gone over time, and the Project Jackson hearing is late.

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***POSTED at 3:39 P.M. on Friday, May 1st***

The Project Jackson case is headed to the South Carolina Supreme Court next week.

The City of North Augusta and Steve Donohue will appear before a judge on Tuesday, May 5th at 10:30 a.m.

The proceeding will take place at the South Carolina Supreme Court in Columbia.

Donohue filed a lawsuit against the city more than a year ago. His complaint questions the financing plan for the $170 million project.

The city won the case in July, but Donohue is appealing that decision to the Supreme Court.

PROJECT JACKSON TIMELINE:

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