AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – Aiken leaders hired a firm to study the community and create a diverse comprehensive plan that fits the city’s needs for years to come.
Benchmark Planning, a firm from North Carolina, met with different groups ranging from Homeowners Associations to environmental activists.
The firm narrowed down its findings in a way that grows and evolves Aiken.
On Thursday, that plan was presented to the community for feedback.
Growth, transformation, connectivity, balance, consistency, and investments are the guiding principles proposed in the comprehensive Plan Aiken.
It’s a vision that embodies the forward thinking necessary to have a thriving community, while preserving the city’s southern charm.
Jeffrey Jordan, a resident of Aiken, says his livelihood heavily relies on how well his restaurant does. That’s why he’s an advocate of a plan that strengthens the local economy.
“Because if you’re not growing you’re dying,” Jordan told WJBF NewsChannel 6.
Jordan says in the past Aiken City leaders have presented many plans for growth, but have failed to follow through with them.
It’s an issue that is holding Aiken back, from keeping up with other up-and-coming cities in the CSRA.
“Cities and towns have to be competitive now and if you’re not competitive you’re losing out with jobs with industry with education. Jordan said.
The state of South Carolina requires city governments to include many elements in their comprehensive plan efforts.
The City of Aiken went a step further by asking citizens to give their thoughts on the community’s needs.
Benchmark Planning Consultant Vagn Hansen says Plan Aiken is all of these components working together.
“What we understood that to be was basically a city that continues to thrive and grow,” Hansen told WJBF NewsChannel 6 “Is a business friendly community. A community that respects the environment. A community that respects its history and culture.”
A second public forum will be held on Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the O’Dell Weeks Center in room 4.
Once the firm collects feedback, they will go back to the drawing board and work out any kinks before presenting it to the Planning Commission.
Count on WJBF NewsChanenl 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story.