Less than two years after SRP Park, the first major component of North Augusta's Riverside Village, opened its doors, the development has received a handful of accolades and awards, but City Administrator Todd Glover says they cannot lose sight of there being more work to do, and more to come.
This time last year, SRP Park – baseball stadium for the Augusta GreenJackets – was still the only piece of the development open, but since has been joined by a hotel, two apartment complexes and two restaurants.
Still though, there is more to come to North Augusta's riverfront.
In early 2019, Crowne Plaza Hotel opened its doors, hosting families and business-people during their stay in the CSRA, also offering a restaurant and rooftop bar.
Southbound Smokehouse and Rio Cantina, both adjoining SRP Park, opened for business in the spring; and the Ironwood Apartments and Clubhouse apartments offer many amenities and bring residents to the village.
Riverside Village is more than just baseball and some dinner, becoming a venue for events.
Augusta At Night was celebrated during Masters Week at SRP Park in 2019, bringing country music stars Hootie and the Blowfish and Sheryl Crow to North Augusta.
This year's Border Bash, an annual event celebrating the rivalry between the University of South Carolina and University of Georgia football fans, will also be held in SRP Park on Oct. 11.
The stadium also played hosts to thousands this April, bringing all of TrueNorth Church's services into one on Easter Sunday morning.
In late 2018, North Augusta City Council passed an ordinance that would allow alcoholic drinks to be taken outside of businesses and restaurants in Riverside Village, but kept inside a boundary.
Glover said the ordinance hasn't caused the "issues that maybe some folks anticipated having," as some city residents were outspoken against allowing alcohol to be carried outdoors in the development, but said the allowance isn't utilized too often.
In April, the city hosted a street festival in Riverside Village, and some people were having drinks in the median along the street, Glover said, adding that for the most part, people have mostly stayed where they are while having a drink.
During the past year, SRP Park and Riverside Village have brought three in three awards.
Ballpark Digest and Baseballparks.com both named SRP Park as Ballpark of the Year last year in August, and the Municipal Association of South Carolina named the city of North Augusta as the winner of the 2019 Joseph P. Riley Award for Economic Development due to its work on Riverside Village.
"It’s validation and it’s nice to get those and the recognition," Glover said. "Our staff, our mayor, council, prior mayor, prior council members worked very hard on this project for a long time."
North Augusta was one of 29 applicants for the award.
"That really says a lot when you look at all the great things that are happening in South Carolina, this project was chosen as the winner," Glover said, adding the city must keep pushing to make sure the rest of the development builds out.
What's coming next?
A second parking garage is being built in the development and should be completed sometime in January, Glover said.
More retail and restaurants are also headed to the development, with Swank Clothing Company and Rivers and Glen outfitters having been named as two of them.
An additional apartment complex will also be built, replacing what was initially slated to become a senior living complex.
A city park along the riverfront, featuring a 600-seat amphitheater, is planned for the area as well, all built around a sycamore tree preserved for that purpose
To help boost the businesses in the area, parking meters were recently turned on in Riverside Village, charging $1 per hour for parking.
Glover said earlier this month the city isn't heavily enforcing the parking meters yet, just trying to get people acclimated to them, as well as the businesses.
Along with the new meters came a new parking plan, which will keep Center Street open during baseball games, allowing those who aren't going to the game to still be able to visit other businesses in the development.
"The main thing is the parking meters are intended to keep parking spaces open for the businesses that are down there and not be taken up by people going to baseball games," Glover said.
Though Riverside Village is already providing lodging, entertainment and food to those who visit, more is yet to come.
"I think you'll see a steady progression of growth," Glover said about 2020 in Riverside Village.