Originally created 05/08/02

Mayor's focus is Aiken's growth



AIKEN - Communication is the most effective way to deal with Aiken's continuing growth, which isn't letting up anytime soon, Mayor Fred Cavanaugh said during his State of the City address Tuesday.

Mr. Cavanaugh, speaking at an Aiken Chamber of Commerce luncheon, told the audience that residents need to be informed before making decisions about Aiken's growth.

He stressed that addressing growth along Aiken's busiest corridor, Whiskey Road between Pine Log and Talatha Church roads, means working with county officials. Seventy percent of that area is under county jurisdiction.

"We're working very closely with the county," he said. "We want to get something mutually agreeable."

Planning members from the city and Aiken County have discussed creating one set of ordinances to address landscaping and signs along Whiskey Road, but they haven't reached an agreement.

Meanwhile, the mayor applauded the city on several fronts, including measures it has taken to address commercial and residential growth on the southside.

There is less traffic on Whiskey Road since the city built a connector route between the Aiken Exchange Mall and the Target shopping center, Mr. Cavanaugh said. Pine Log Road is now five lanes wide, and the Aiken bypass extension on the city's north end will soon be complete.

"Hopefully, it will take northbound traffic off Whiskey Road," he added.

Aiken's new airport terminal is complete, as are the city's additions to Citizens Park. Mr. Cavanaugh said the city has been and will be further beautified, illustrating his point with slides of improved areas of Aiken.

The show included photos of the newly constructed downtown condos and new housing in once-dilapidated neighborhoods.

Running out of time to speak, Mr. Cavanaugh pleaded for five more minutes, saying he had four pages of things to talk about.

He settled for what could be said in the seconds remaining: "I can't think of a better place (to live)."

Reach Josh Gelinas at (803) 279-6895 or josh.gelinas@augustachronicle.com.