AIKEN - A short stretch of Whiskey Road could soon become the prototype for what the entire thoroughfare might one day look like.
A team from LDR International, an urban design company hired by the city of Aiken, is meeting today with 12 owners of property between the Arby's restaurant near Wal-Mart and the Wendy's restaurant near Pine Log Road.
The city has proposed installing curbs and gutters, sidewalks, storm drainage, landscaping, irrigation and driveways to the area. If property owners agree, officials said, the city has $200,000 in this year's budget to implement the changes, which could be made in the near future.
The strip along Whiskey Road would fall under the joint jurisdiction of the city and Aiken County. The district would run from Pine Log Road to Talatha Church Road. Currently, parts of Whiskey Road are under city jurisdiction and parts are in the unincorporated area of the county.
The city and county planning commissions have met jointly and are discussing how the two groups would preside over the proposed district.
"If we could get this to work, we could look at using this as a model for future corridors," Aiken City Manager Roger LeDuc said Tuesday night at a city council study session. Council members supported making changes between Arby's and Wendy's.
Joe Gabriel, a longtime property owner along Whiskey Road, objected to the city's ideas. He said shrubbery placed in front of his property would block the storefronts he rents to other tenants.
"Ten or 12 years ago, I was commended for the building I did out there," he said. "I just landed a Fortune 500 company, and they would have turned it down with these requirements."
In other business, the council agreed that an engineering study on a proposed connector road between Whiskey and Silver Bluff roads should be conducted. Members agreed a similar study should be done on the addition of turning lanes on Dougherty Road at the intersections with Silver Bluff and Whiskey roads.
Reach Josh Gelinas at (803)279-6895.