AIKEN, SC. (WJBF) – The 17th annual “State of the Community” event took place at the Etherredge Center on the campus of USC-Aiken Thursday morning.

Senator Tom Young spoke to members of the Aiken Chamber of Commerce–along with other organizations in the county–about several projects that have been in the works.

City officials and others around the county have been part of an effort to make Aiken a better place over the last two years.

“All of it added together will be so impactful for Aiken County,” said Chamber of Commerce President J. David Jameson.

The big money is being spread out around the county, going towards several key projects:

$20 Million is going towards the Savannah River Bluff Lock and Dam.

$10 Million is going to a National Guard Dreamport at USC-Aiken.

$10 Million is being used for an Industrial Park in Eastern Aiken County.

$20 Million is going towards the SRS National Lab Off Site Infrastructure.

$15 Million is going to a new cyber spec building in North Augusta.

$30 Million is going towards a new career center for the Aiken County School District.

$25 Million is going towards other developments in downtown and northside Aiken.

Senator Tom Young says these projects and others would be valuable additions to a state economy that is continuing to see success.

“We’re the number two state in the country for business expansion, we’ve seen an increase in the automotive industry in South Carolina,” said Young.

Young adds that Aiken county’s future is bright, and he credits everybody who had a part in securing that funding.

“We’re very proud of what team Aiken County was able to achieve as a team–it was no individual effort–we worked together as a team for over two years,” said Young. “We were able to do what we’ve done and talked about today. Very proud of it, and we think that our citizens will see the impacts for years to come.”

In terms of the 2024 legislative agenda, Young says there are several things to point out.

It is the second year of a two-year session, and it is also an election year for all members of the house and the senate.

Various issues will also be addressed, including the balance of the state budget, a pension reform, along with law changes regarding liquor liability.

He also touched on the gender affirming care ban. The state of Georgia has already passed this bill, and according to Young the general assembly has been working on a bill he expects to pass in 2024.

Other issues that will be on the agenda include teacher recruitment and retention, anti-gang legislation, as well as putting more emphasis on cancer screening awareness.

Sine Die is on Thursday, May 9th, 2024.