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Aiken County might lend $1.3 million for depot

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AIKEN --- The Aiken County Council tonight will consider lending Aiken Corp. $1.3 million to help complete the Railroad Depot.

The loan would fund the $800,000 worth of construction to complete renovating the historic structure, and the remaining $500,000 would supplement pledges that have not been collected from donors, Assistant City Manager Richard Pearce said.

The loan would have an interest rate of about 2 percent, and the council would decide the terms, he said.

Just last week, the organization placed five railroad community dioramas on the second floor of the depot, which is at the corner of Union Street and Park Avenue. The creation, shipment and installation of those replicas cost about $180,000, said Don Barnes, a technical consultant for Aiken Corp.

The project has a $3 million budget.

Construction on the depot's railcars, passenger platforms and baggage building must be complete before the May grand opening, Mr. Barnes said.

The city has lent money to the company in the past, Mr. Pearce said. Aiken Corp. is paying back a $3.5 million loan that helped fund the Washington Center for the Performing Arts. The organization has paid that loan down to $2.2 million.

The council will also select a mayor pro tem tonight. Former Mayor Pro Tem Jane Vaughters ended her eight-year tenure on the council last month.

The member selected would get a pay raise from $9,000 a year to $12,000 and preside over meetings in the absence of Mayor Fred Cavanaugh, Mr. Pearce said.

"The selection happens every two years," he said. "The person will have a lot more responsibility."

Based on seniority, Councilman Don Wells would be selected as mayor pro tem, but the council will make the final decision, Mr. Pearce said.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. on the second floor of City Hall, 214 Park Ave. S.W.

Reach Stephanie Toone at (803) 648-1395 or stephanie.toone@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (11) Add comment
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baronvonreich
0
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baronvonreich 12/14/09 - 03:14 am
0
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An absolute waste of taxpayer

An absolute waste of taxpayer money and just another example of poor decisions by local governments.

JacquesUlar
0
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JacquesUlar 12/14/09 - 04:12 am
0
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Full of holiday cheer this

Full of holiday cheer this morning, ehh? I think it's cool that they might get the money they need to be ready for the Grand Opening. For an enduring attraction and historical preservation and hands on learning center, this is money well spent compared to the billions and trillions going up in smoke for federal programs with no lasting reults.

justus4
99
Points
justus4 12/14/09 - 06:58 am
0
0
No minority representative
Unpublished

No minority representative saying no thing. Taxpayers dollars going to something that is useless and probably illegal - if properly investigated. The ignorance of minorities in that town, and all of the other local towns, are classic examples of why slaveowners kept reading materials out of their slave's hands. Boy, did it work well to keep the ignorance going....

jboy
0
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jboy 12/14/09 - 07:42 am
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you are a glaring example of

you are a glaring example of ignorance justus.

terry67
0
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terry67 12/14/09 - 07:53 am
0
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Justass, put down the crack

Justass, put down the crack pipe!

Does_it_really_matter
1
Points
Does_it_really_matter 12/14/09 - 09:28 am
0
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Justus, doesn't that chip you

Justus, doesn't that chip you lug around 24/7 get heavy after a while?

bettyboop
7
Points
bettyboop 12/14/09 - 09:30 am
0
0
This is a good project and

This is a good project and will educate many ..many school children ,,,monies well spent on something other than "gimmee" handout crap....whatsa matter justas?....Perhaps the sucess of these "other local" towns says something you do not want to hear?

curly123053
4559
Points
curly123053 12/14/09 - 09:49 am
0
0
These railroad projects in

These railroad projects in other communities have been tourist attractions. If this depot project is done right this could result in enough revenue to pay off these debts in no time. I am eager to see the final product of what they are doing with the depot site myself. None of what justus4 said made any sense to me.

The Knave
24
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The Knave 12/14/09 - 10:33 am
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RE: "The loan would fund the

RE: "The loan would fund the $800,000 worth of construction to complete renovating the historic structure.." This statement characterizes the whole stupid undertaking -- rife with error and bad judgment. There is no "historic structure" to be "renovated." The depot is a brand spanking new edifice, a monument to a private-public "partnership" run amok. The other project mentioned -- the Washington Center for the Performing Arts has been an economic catastrophe -- which the involved principals tried their best to hide from taxpayer scrutiny. This new loan from the City will be used to pay off an existing loan from Security Federal Bank. The bank will be left holding the bag if enough money is not collected from pledges. The CEO and president of Security is Tim Simmons. Guess who's on the board of the Depot Committee? -- Tim Simmons. Guess who is the chairman of the committee raising money for the Depot? -- Tim Simmons. So, here we have a taxpayer funded government two-fur: 1. A white elephant building and old rail cars. 2. A bank bail-out. So, where are all of the right-wing-nut anti-government folk when you need them? Oh, they're busy collecting their bank stock dividends.

KSL
126408
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KSL 12/14/09 - 12:27 pm
0
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The Knave, blame the reporter

The Knave, blame the reporter for the error in reporting. It's also the City Council, not the County. As for justus, I'd love to see Beverly Clyburn and Lessie Price get after him for what he said.

bobaisgaf
5
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bobaisgaf 12/14/09 - 05:26 pm
0
0
As the CEO, Tim's probably

As the CEO, Tim's probably one of the biggest shareholders. Can anyone say fox in the chicken-house!

Just Another Day
0
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Just Another Day 12/14/09 - 10:50 pm
0
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Just Nuts= "What I really

Just Nuts= "What I really meant to say was, I'm a stupid ignoramus and I will not stop untill I fill this world with hate, disaccord, paranoia and bile. I'm the king of the underclass and I speak for the non minority media and the you know who (AWM) can kiss my grits"

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