The future is now brighter, but North Augusta isnít in the clear when it comes to bringing Project Jackson to fruition.

Challenges still exist, chief among them a possible appeal of a recent circuit court decision to allow the redevelopment project to progress. However, North Augusta officials have to be feeling significantly more positive and ready to renew their focus of bringing new business growth to the city.

As the judicial process got underway, the City was largely handcuffed Ė only able to make piecemeal steps just to keep the project afloat. Should an appeal happen, the City would once again be stuck watching the clock tick, likely with their fingers crossed that developers wouldnít back out.

We hope that doesnít become the case. Project Jackson has the potential to be tremendously successful for our community. As weíve said on this page before, this can certainly be a very worthwhile project for Aiken County.

But due diligence is still paramount to ensure that all parties involved reap the benefits. Only part of the project will be funded by public dollars, while the rest hinges on the successful recruitment of private development.

North Augusta City Council has wisely already made a positive initial step by giving the go-ahead for Medac to come to North Augusta, a move thatís expected to bring 615 jobs and a $12 million investment. This will be a great kick starter for Riverfront development. Medacís new location will be directly across the street from the North Augusta Municipal Building, and employees will have the ability to walk down the hill to eat at restaurants, shop retail or live in apartments if Project Jackson is completed as planned.

Whatís clear is that if the private development doesnít come through, the rest of the vision for the project will unfortunately fall flat. There is also public money accessible for a stadium, parking garage and conference center, which should be considered the pillar of the overall development.

Should this all come together, it should be seen as a much-needed economic engine. Such projects donít come along often, so itís up to North Augusta and developers to steer it sensibly and effectively to benefit all of Aiken County.