AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – On Friday, Aiken’s City Manager aimed to put all the Renaissance Project rumors to rest.
After the revitalization plan was announced, some city leaders were attacked by people who opposed the plan, through controversial flyers that went up around town.
“It’s time ladies and gentleman to set the record straight and be vividly clear about what is being proposed here,” said Aiken City Manager John Klimm.
The Aiken Renaissance Project has received a lot of push back from some in the community, who claim that city leaders are doing ‘dirty deals’ behind closed doors.
The redevelopment proposal is part of the city’s effort to build on the success of Aiken’s downtown, and includes prominent properties on Richland Ave. and Newberry St.
One of the businesses that could be impacted, Warneke’s Cleaners, is a competitor of Aiken Mayor Rick Osbon’s dry-cleaning business.
While anonymous flyers claim the Mayor is trying to shut down his competitor and six other local businesses, Obson has publicly said that’s not true.
The City Manager defended the Mayor saying the City of Aiken is not kicking anyone out.
“Their future will be dictated by the strength of their present leases, which the city has nothing to do with, and their negotiations with the development team who acquires the option and properties.” Klimm said.
The City Manager also tackled the Transferable Option, obtained on the property, saying the city did reach out to the landowners attorneys only after learning the block was up for sale.
“The Anderson Option, is not an effort for the city to develop the property itself,” said Klimm. “It is an effort that gives the city and our citizens, a real say as to who will develop the property, what will be the uses and how the new investments enhances our downtown.”
The City Manager says when the property is finally sold, the city plans to give extra consideration to investors and developers who will work to accommodate the businesses presently located on the block of Newberry St. and Richland Ave.
Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story.