Aiken, South Carolina – In the next 10 years millennial will out number baby boomers across the country and right here in the two-state.
It’s a statistic that Aiken is working to address head on….they’re in the midst of doing a study to find the answer.
Kimberly Scott joins us now with the story.
The decision makers in Aiken find themselves facing the same challenges many communities are facing. How to sustain a vibrant community that continues to grow even after the current residents move out or die out.
Aiken is working on a plan to bring new life to its city and county. Ashley Pace rides horses and has been coming with her family since she was 10 years old.
Ashley Pace, ” it’s such a charming town and it’s very friendly for the horse riders and I’ve always felt its a welcoming community.”
Will Williams, President and CEO of the Economic Development Partnership says they need people like Ashley, who are just starting out in life, to move to Aiken.
Ashley, ” I’d love to graduate and go to med school close by and end up living here.”
Will, “the city of Aiken has shown an overall aging and we’ve lost numbers in terms of young people under the ages of 5 and young people under the ages of 18 . which we interpret to mean there are not as many young families in the area as we would like for it to be.
Aiken’s mature population brings stability to the community the local economy, however sustaining that trend may be challenging.
Bob Blankenheim, ” you have to have a town vibrant and i think youth brings that vibrant mentality to it and I think clearly they’ve got to have a draw, what Aiken needs to do and what every town needs to do is create the jobs that bring them here.”
Like many of Aiken’s residents, Bob retired here…..he & his friends love the atmosphere of the town. and Betsy’s on the corner adds to the ambiance, but says there is room for growth.
Betsy Simons / Owner, Betsy’s on the Corner ” I do wish there were more things, I don’t know what the answer is, I thinks it’s going to take someone with vision and investment and community support.”
Will, “we are continually in collaboration with the city of Aiken and the Aiken Chamber of Commerce, we’re working on initiatives that will attract those young people.”
The goal is to create an environment for all ages to live, work and play.
This is the 3rd year for the study done by Aiken’s Chamber of Commerce & the Economic Development Partnership. how to move forward isn’t concrete but they are looking for sustainable businesses to come into the area.