Plans for a show fountain in North Augusta have been put on hold, but not completely discarded, after a unanimous vote Monday evening.
North Augusta City Council voted unanimously against applying for a grant to go toward the construction of a performance fountain at the Riverside Village park.
The resolution would have committed the city to matching funds up to $175,000 if a grant from the South Carolina Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department had been awarded.
City Council voted last Monday, Dec. 2, to allocate $100,000 toward the construction of basic, non-performance fountain.
North Augusta Mayor Bob Pettit said last week that the performance fountain would cost $450,000. That cost would have included the $100,000 already allocated, plus the grant from the state and matching funds from the city.
Pettit compared a performance fountain to a "mini-Bellagio." The Bellagio is a hotel with a large iconic fountain in Las Vegas.
If the resolution had been passed and the grant awarded, the city would have been committed to a match of $175,000.
City Council member Kevin Toole said during a study session before that meeting that he’s having a “hard time allocating additional funds outside what we originally … allocated toward the amphitheater when the project isn’t stabilized.”
Council members Bob Brooks and Pat Carpenter each brought up that there are more important needs in the city that should be focused on, such as the Public Safety department’s planned headquarters and fire station.
“The fountain can wait – it can be done later if we want to do it,” Brooks said.
Council member David McGhee mentioned that he would like to see a water feature in the park in the future.
Council member Fletcher Dickert was not present, but every one of the other six members, including Pettit, voted against the resolution and committing funds to match the grant.
The Riverside Village park will feature a 600-seat amphitheater.
Rick Meyer, director of the city's Parks, Recreation and Tourism department, said last week construction for the park is on schedule at the moment, and the city is planning for a grand opening concert in May.
“That’s what we’re shooting for, and we’re playing it safe, we’re playing it conservatively,” he said.