AIKEN, SC (WJBF)- Next week, the Aiken Chamber of Commerce will host its annual “State of the Community” luncheon.

Some topics will be on infrastructure, the economy and health care in Aiken. On the agenda is a panel discussion about the investments being made to upgrade the infrastructure and beautify Highway 1 at I-20 Exit 22.

City officials want to spruce up those gateways into the city. Those gateway roads into Aiken are the first look travelers get and city officials want to give the best impression they can.

The first step the city will take is improving infrastructure along the US 1 corridor. New sewer pipes will be run through the area and expanded thanks to both state and federal grants.

The city will also begin to work on the aesthetic of that exit and all the gateway entries into Aiken, with landscaping and regular maintenance.

“While that property, I mean its 8 miles from the interstate to the city limits, you want to have a good, sort of, front porch effect– to have your front porch looking good,” explained Stuart Bedenbaugh, Aiken City Manager.

John Harbin is the pastor at nearby North Aiken Church of God. He said he supports the city’s plans.

“We’re out of town, but we’re on the edge of town and the recent improvements are great. For it to be productive, look good, serve the community… it’s wonderful,” Harbin smiled.

The goal is to eventually attract more business to Exit 22.

You can learn more about it at the “State of our Community Luncheon” on August 30th at 11:30 a.m. It is a ticketed event that will take place at the Etherredge Center on the campus of USC Aiken.

Tickets are $325 for a group of 8 and $45 for individuals. For tickets call or email Jim Tunison at (803) 645-0144 or