North Augusta mayor talks making city center of South Carolina Cyber Security, Project Jackson bonds, and NAPS

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WJBF) – It’s been more than 2 weeks since North Augusta’s new mayor took the oath of office, but new leadership is not the only change to South Carolina’s riverfront.

For the last 5 years, Bob Pettit took an active role in his local government, attending North Augusta city council meetings regularly.

A year ago, Pettit was appointed to the Board of Zoning and Appeals, where he would get his first taste of serving the city.

That was until he launched a successful campaign to run for Mayor.

“I was sworn-in the night of May 1st, in the middle of the council meeting.” Pettit told WJBF NewsChannel 6. “That was a special, special time. I had my granddaughter there and my wife. Kind of the culmination of a lifetime service.”

In his short-time in office, the retired Air Force Colonel and Engineer, has signed-off on the biggest piece of the Ballpark Village puzzle, the bonds to pay for it.

“I have one regret and the regret is that Lark Jones didn’t get to sign the documents,” said Pettit.

Pettit says his top priority is the construction of a new fire department and Public Safety Headquarters, which the city has proposed building on Georgia Ave.

The last round of one cent sales tax wasn’t enough to fund the project, but Pettit hopes to see it through before the end of his term.

He’s also working on convincing Cyber Security bigwigs in Columbia, that North Augusta should be the home of the state’s cyber center.

“This is where the action is, this is where the interest is, this is where the experts are, this is where the excitement is.” The Mayor said.

In a former interview, during his campaign Pettit admitted he doesn’t believe the role of Mayor should be a full-time gig.

“Do you still stand by that statement?” Asked NewsChannel 6’s Stefany Bornman.

“Well right now I do,” Pettit responded.

North Augusta’s history of thoughtful planning to do the job right, without raising taxes, has set the bar high.

It’s one thing, Pettit says citizens can be sure won’t be transforming about South Carolina’s riverfront.

“I want to see a big vision for North Augusta and then we can make plans to accomplish it,” said Pettit.

Pettit says the city is looking into creating a unique amenity, in the form of gondola rides, that will connect North Augusta to Augusta.

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