Council member: Aiken’s proposed Northside Park could help area economy

AIKEN, SC. (WJBF) – Roughly one year after the City of Aiken spent more than a million dollars to purchase property off US 1, residents in Aiken’s North side are a step closer to seeing it turned into a park.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Dan Hallman. His auto repair shop has been one of a few businesses off Columbia Highway. “I’ve been here 32 years and we’re finally starting to see some growth on this side of town.”

The city of Aiken’s proposed Northside Park could soon be right down the street on property about a mile from the Crosland Park neighborhood.

“We’re excited that it’s finally happening,” said Council Member Lessie Price.

A hired firm unveiled its master plan for the $57 million dollar project. It features a stadium, amphitheater, and other amenities on more than 100 acres.

“When our kids are engaged and our families are engaged as whole, that helps reduce crime in any community,” said Price.  She says the city has around $3 million in sales tax money to begin phase one — which includes the amphitheater and a splash park. “To get people coming out and enjoying something with great economic vitality but also to bring additional growth on the north side.”

It’s the kind of plan Hallman says he can get on board with.

“It should encourage people to come to our side of town to visit this side of town and if they do that hopefully we’ll get more restaurants and some more small businesses over here.”

The proposal will go before city council for a vote on May 9th. City leaders hope to actually break ground on the site by this time next year.

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