AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – Big changes could soon be coming to Downtown Aiken.
A Downtown Advisory Team, created as part of the Main Street South Carolina initiatives, will unveil its recommendation to improve the area.
They interviewed hundreds of residents, business-owners and visitors. What they heard is Aiken leaders need to do a better job of marketing the city, and while that’s just one issue that was brought up, many more will be addressed on Thursday to the Aiken City Council.
“I would definitely rather see local businesses, that aren’t really like the chains,” said Becca Lerman, a resident of Aiken. “That’s one thing that is nice about the whole block around here.”
Lerman loves catching up with friends in Downtown Aiken. She’s a big supporter of the mom-and-pop stores, which can be found on just about every block of the city.
Aiken’s Vitality Manager John McMichael has worked closely with the Main Street South Carolina advisory team.
That team is looking at ways to build on Aiken’s success that’s already captured the attention of millenials.
McMichael says the Downtown Advisory Team has yield many of their findings from simple zip code surveys.
Those findings even came as a surprise to the life-long Aiken resident.
“They ranged from clothing stores to believe it or not, additional restaurants.” McMichael told WJBF NewsChannel 6.
Another big finding was the need to brand Aiken. The city has already jumped on the task to create a distinctive logo, that can be recognized anywhere.
“I think it will give everybody some real sense of identity,” he said.
McMichael say the parkways in Aiken are part of its uniqueness and date back to the late 1800’s. The advisory team recommended highlighting these characteristics by adding artwork.
However, the biggest results was the need for more housing in the heart of the city.
“If I could live in downtown and just walk everywhere that would be awesome,” said U.S.C.A student Andrea Daring.
The Downtown Advisory Team will present specific findings along with their recommendations.
Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story.