Sales taxes fund city's projects

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AIKEN --- Over the next year, Aiken residents will see their tax money at work as the city strives to complete several capital projects voters approved in 2004.

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Jonathan Hamilton, a brick mason with HG Reynolds Company, adds a cinder block to the pavilion. This project is one of several other voter-approved projects in the city being funded by $2.9 million collected from sales taxes.  Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Jonathan Hamilton, a brick mason with HG Reynolds Company, adds a cinder block to the pavilion. This project is one of several other voter-approved projects in the city being funded by $2.9 million collected from sales taxes.

The projects, funded through local option sales taxes, total more than $2.9 million.

In 2004, Aiken County residents voted to extend the 1-cent local option sales tax for seven years, or until $114 million is raised. The original referendum, approved by voters in 2000, generated $54 million.

"Jurisdictions really stand to gain from it. I think that's why it's been successful," Assistant City Manager Bill Huggins said. "It's not benefiting one project or one community in the county."

The city government proposed $28 million in projects in the 2004 referendum.

This year's projects:

- A new Aiken Department of Public Safety pumper truck for station No. 5 that will be built at Citadel Drive and Whiskey Road -- $250,000

- Street paving that will begin either this fall or early spring -- $250,000.

- Sewer line renewals behind Aiken High School to York Street; the water line on Lincoln Avenue is under design along with the water line from Camellia Street to Hampton Avenue along Marlboro Street -- $600,000.

- Elimination of the northbound lane on Union Street, in preparation of the Aiken Railroad Depot replica, to create additional parking, add lighting and for extensive landscaping -- $125,000.

- To reduce traffic on Whiskey Road and provide another route to retailers on the northside of town, the city is building a connector road between Dougherty and Silver Bluff roads -- $1.05 million.

- City crews will install a wrought iron fence and landscaping at Pine Lawn Cemetery, located at the corner of Florence Street and Abbeville Avenue. In March, the 155-year-old cemetery was placed on the National Register of Historic Places -- $170,000.

- A 2,300-square-foot band shell and pavilion at Hopelands Garden and Rye Patch is under construction, replacing the 21-year-old structure that was torn down in September -- $200,000.

- The city continues with its northside improvement program in the Edgewood subdivision by building new affordable housing -- $250,000.

Reach Michelle Guffey at (803) 648-1395, ext. 110, or michelle.guffey@augustachronicle.com.

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