City of Aiken taking new approach towards shaping its future through public discussions

AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – The city of Aiken is taking a new approach toward shaping its future.

On Tuesday, the city’s Communications Manager Tim O’Briant is hosting a public discussion about plans to revitalize Downtown.

There’s been a lot of misinformation put out through social media networks about the city’s efforts to make Aiken a destination.

With many changes happening downtown, the goal of this meeting is to continue to keep the public informed through open conversations.

Revamping the Alley was just the start of many projects to keep foot traffic coming to downtown Aiken.

Next to the downtown attraction, sits Lionel Smith Limited.

Business owner Van Smith says he’ll be at the Downtown Development Forum because moving his city forward is vital to his livelihood.

“I would encourage people to go, because this is a meeting to get educated on what’s going on in Aiken.” Smith told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

O’Briant says the idea to hold a public discussion came up when city leaders were looking for ways to keep their efforts to redevelop downtown transparent.

“Where it all started from, was to generate a list of frequently asked questions, so that we could take the concerns and put them down, both positive and negative, and put the best answers that we have right now [on the city’s website],” O’Briant told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

Some of the projects in the works include the Renaissance Redevelopment.

The project will transform the Finance Building into an apartment complex with shops, create a parking deck and expand the Municipal Building.

While the city doesn’t have all the answers, since many of the projects are still in the early stages, having a community discussion will at least give people a chance to hear the latest information.

“Going to a meeting like this will give the city an opportunity to tell us exactly what is going on, whether you are for it or against it, and that way you know what is happening.” Smith said. “I think it’s good to be educated.”

The meeting starts at 6 p.m.

It’s going to be held in the Conference Center at the Municipal Building.

If you weren’t able to attend, you can find the information by clicking here. 

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

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