As the CSRA grows, Aiken worries about lagging behind

Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020
News 12 at 6 O’Clock/NBC at 7

(Source: WRDW)

AIKEN, SC (WRDW/WAGT) -- We always hear about how our area is growing. Well, the numbers are finally here to back it up -- specifically in Aiken County. The area grew in size, and it also grew economically.

The Aiken area has grown, but not quite at the pace local leaders are wanting. They see the city lagging behind a bit, and there's a big effort on building for the future.

"We realize we have to invest in our future, and if we don't we won't have a future,” Aiken Council member Ed Woltz said.

Woltz says it’s one of the city's biggest efforts right now. Census data shows Aiken has grown in the past 10 years, but they believe it's not fast enough.

"Even as a retirement community, we need to grow and attract more retirees here,” Woltz said. “We also need to grow and attract more millennials here, and have a good combination and good mix of everything."

So the city is planning to invest in projects like the old Aiken hospital, which may be turned into apartments and a hotel. There’s also a new partnership with the Aiken Steeplechase they believe will keep the race thriving.

The Chamber of Commerce sees these as good steps.

Data from 2018 by the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows the Aiken-Augusta area growing faster than the national average, but Aiken is lagging behind.

"Unless there's infill projects, Aiken is not likely to grow as fast as the rest of the county,” Aiken Chamber President David Jameson said. "We've seen a lot of growth outside city limits."

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