Aiken City Council approves resolution to begin negotiations on proposed parking garage

AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – A parking deck could be coming to Aiken.

On Wednesday night, city leaders approved a resolution that will allow them to begin negotiating a potential parking garage.

It’s all part of the effort to grow downtown with offices, retail, and housing.

Still, some people opposed the idea of a parking garage, because they say it doesn’t quite fit the character of the city.

“I can’t think of a good-looking parking garage anywhere that I know of,” said Martin Buckley, a resident of Aiken.

There are nearly 600 parking spots in Downtown Aiken, but according to a new traffic study, during peak hours, you won’t find an empty one anywhere.

The Renaissance Redevelopment Project is part of the city’s effort to make Aiken a live, work and play community.

However, one of the issues the city is facing now is parking and the solution isn’t sitting well with some taxpayers.

“A parking garage is not going to look like anything anyone has ever seen before in Aiken,” Buckley told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

The proposed parking deck would be built around retailers on Richland Ave. and Newberry St.

It would add roughly 350 parking spots, which would alleviate the need for people who work downtown to take-up valuable parking in front of businesses.

It would also prove valuable during special events such as “Amp the Alley.”

The proposed parking deck would be a first for Aiken, so city leaders want to get it right.

“That element of a flat exit and entry to your car, allows for a prettier deck to be built, if you will, from an aesthetic perspective, because you are not seeing the scissor deck.” David Smoots of Carbon Properties said. “As something you see from outside when you look through the deck.”

Buckley had lots of questions for city council about the proposal, but now he’s just hoping he’s not left picking-up the bill.

“It should not be a burden on the taxpayers,” he said.

The passing of the resolution does not mean the city can just begin building a parking garage.

The developer still needs to create a blue-print, hold public meetings and then have it approved by council.

City leaders have suggested financing the parking deck through the hospitality tax.

Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story. 

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