Five questions with Richard Pearce

Richard Pearce is the new assistant city manager for the city of Aiken.


1. When is Aiken's 175th anniversary?

"The 175th anniversary of Aiken's chartering will be Dec. 19, 2010, but events will be spread through the year."

2. What are the city's celebration plans?

"We're still in the organizational stages for it, but we presented to council a concept to take that year prior to the actual birth date to focus on different parts of Aiken's community."

3. What different parts of the community will be the focus of the celebration?

"First-quarter events will focus on the history of Aiken, how the town got its start, the development of the horse industry, Aiken as a health retreat and the announcement of the Savannah River Plant back in the 1950s.

Second-quarter events will highlight education, entertainment and the arts in Aiken.

Over the summer we'll get the business community -- business and technology and the innovation here and the hydrogen lab being located here.

The last three months will be celebrated by looking at the future of Aiken. There will be a grand finale party on Dec. 19."

4. What will be needed to bring this celebration together?

"We need a steering committee of dedicated volunteers who will commit to an 18- to 24-month time period of pre-planning, planning and producing this series of events."

5. What made the city's 150th anniversary celebration successful?

"When I went through the file that we have from the 150th celebration, which was in 1985, you're quickly impressed that it's an effort that takes involvement by so many people that live in Aiken ... who just care very deeply about Aiken, to make it successful."