AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) — The City of Aiken is looking to revitalize different parts of the city to help bring more development and revenue.
City leaders want to breathe new life into an area that’s called the Williamsburg Street Corridor. The block includes Williamsburg Street and Richland Avenue all the way down to Colleton Avenue. It’s the block that includes areas such as the decades-old farmers’ market.
Aiken is taking advantage of an opportunity within an opportunity zone. Some work has already started but much more is well on the way.
“There will be some updated upgraded streetscaping, but primarily mixed-use and some commercial residential,” Aiken City Manager Stuart Bedenbaugh told NewsChannel 6’s Aiken Bureau Chief Shawn Cabbagestalk.
The plan, which has been in the works for about two years, calls for sprucing up this side of town.
“We’ve talked about kind of expanding the reach of our downtown and this is a logical way to do that,” Bedenbaugh added.
The area includes the decades-old farmers’ market. “The farmer’s market is a good sort of a linchpin to do this around,” he shared.
Part of the money for the project will come from the federal government.
“Through the community development block grant program, which is administered by the federal government housing and urban development department, we would be able to borrow future proceeds of a million dollars, pay it back over 20 years to help with some of those improvements. But a majority of it would be private investment because this area also is located in the federal opportunity zone,” the City Manager revealed.
The possibilities are endless. “We envisioned at some point there’ll be arts and crafts components just due to its adjacency to the farmer’s market. That’s a natural tie-in as well,” he added
Long term, the project is expected to take a few years to be completed.