$10M close to being fully approved for purchase of blighted properties for development opportunities in Aiken

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AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) — Ten million dollars could soon be invested into the City of Aiken for development.

Council recently gave first approval to release the funds to the Aiken Municipal Development Commission group.

In March, the mayor gave the team a number of goals he felt were needed for the city. It coincided with the time that the draft economic development strategic plan was released. “The Municipal Development Commission was to look to try to improve kind of what we call our, we call it, in this case, the Parkway District,” City Manager Stuart Bedenbaugh told NewsChannel 6’s Aiken Bureau Chief Shawn Cabbagestalk.

The district, essentially the downtown grid. West to east is Morgan Street to Beaufort Street. North to south is Hampton Avenue to Park Avenue. “They’re trying to acquire some, as available, selected properties for potential development,” he added.

Some of the areas in question have seen their better days. No specific areas in the district are targeted. One option the developer could have is putting some commercial properties on the lots.

“It’s the oldest part of town. Property is difficult for development folks on the outside, to try to piece together with various owners, lot sizes, particular parcels, but this will, potentially, help and I think help efficiently and effectively potential development opportunities in this part of the city,” the city manager revealed.

The city is also waiting on money from that plutonium settlement to revitalize this area, too. This option would be easier as opposed to waiting.”This money is not going to just be willy nilly tapped into, it just gives us access if needed,” he added.

Meanwhile, the effort to revitalizing the Williamsburg corridor, including the farmers market, is within the project area and potentially could be a part of the effort.

If $10m is approved and the city and can’t find the funding overall project for the revitalization of the parkway district we’re told, it would not affect taxes, but money would need to be allocated from the city budget to pay for it.

The ordinance will need to go through and second and final reading before taking into effect.


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