Aiken residents speak out about potential new development

Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 10:46 PM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - A big project is coming to Aiken, but many details are still up for debate.

The details still up for consideration are where it will be and what it will look like.

But we do know that the building will be considered “mixed-use” and used as both an office and event space with a budget of $20 million.

On Thursday, a meeting was held to show the options for where the building may go and allow people to submit feedback.

“People are very passionate about Aiken. That’s one of the things that makes it a great place. So we wanted this opportunity so they could come in and really tell us what they thought about each of the sites,” said K.J. Jacobs, McMillan Pazdon Smith Architecture principal.

Aiken residents went to the meeting to voice their opinions and concerns.

“We want to keep the historical part of the city as it is and I don’t feel that downtown is the proper place for a government facility,” said Linda Keener, an Aiken resident.

It’s not that people are against development downtown.

“We want something that people will come down and walk through. We don’t want to go through and look at a government facility. I mean, we want to bring the young folks in town. We want them to be able to hear the music and enjoy the camaraderie. And, you know, that’s what we’re trying to keep,” said Keener.

They love downtown Aiken for what it already is.

“I think that we want to keep our city small and unique,” said Keener.

Developers say they plan to incorporate Aiken’s charm into the new building.

“We always try to honor the past of Aiken, and while looking forward. And so it very important to respect the architectural fabric, the scale of downtown,” said Jacobs.

He says they are taking everyone’s opinion into consideration.

“We want to hear people’s opinions, and we want to hear as many opinions as we can,” said Jacobs.

Developers say they will post the answers to the questions on their website, where you can also still submit feedback.

There will be a second meeting next Thursday. It will be panel-style with a microphone to allow people to ask more questions.