News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, Feb. 15, 2013
AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW) -- Work is underway in Crosland Park. Brush is cleared, and the pieces of a very special project are starting to arrive.
"When we were out here working a couple of weeks ago, people were stopping and asking us what was going on," said Craig Brooks, who works for WSI-SRS, the security contractor for Savannah River Site.
Cathy Shaw does marketing for the USC Aiken Convocation Center, and on Friday afternoon, she joined Brooks to show News 12 what they're working on, along with dozens of others from Leadership Aiken County. They're building a safe path for Crosland Park students to get to school.
Months ago, the two plots of land they're improving looked very different.
"It was not a safe environment at all. There was a lot of brush. Again, there were actually two abandoned houses on this lot, so not a safe environment for kids at all. The city came in and was able to clear it, and now, we're able to turn it into something beautiful," Brooks said.
"We are transforming what was just an awful, yucky lot," Shaw said.
A lot of times, students would hike through the dense woods before the sun was out, sometimes in the rain, to get to either Aiken Middle School or North Aiken Elementary nearby.
"We're just thankful for all that they're doing to revitalize the area to make the area and the community safer and definitely making the pathway to and from North Aiken safe for our students," said North Aiken Elementary Principal Rhonda Ray.
Ray is excited about the new steps, and in just a couple months, there'll be a spot right here for parents to park and wait for their walkers. They'll also be building a park, too.
"The community will have a roofed pergola on each section at each lot. We'll have picnic tables, trash cans, a grill, community bulletin boards," Shaw said.
Work here should be done by June 15.
Of course, the project is still ongoing, and you can help if you want. They need cash donations and plenty more manual labor. Just call Craig at (865) 679-7795 if you're interested.
Each Leadership Aiken County class works on a project each session. This time around, the Crosland Park Safe Route improvement was chosen by LAC members.