Park will be a peaceful setting where center visitors can relax

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AIKEN --- A park is being built at the corner of Richland Avenue and York Street, near the African American Cultural Center.

Aiken Public Works Director Larry Morris said the idea for a park came up about two years ago.

"(Aiken City) Council looked at it and decided it was a good spot to create more open space," he said.

With work progressing on the cultural center, the city is hoping to beautify the corner with benches and green space to provide a place of relaxation and rest for residents and visitors.

An abandoned gas station had occupied the corner lot at the busy intersection. When the city purchased the lot, the station was torn down and the gasoline tanks removed. Mr. Morris said the "property has a clean bill of health."

The city's planning commission approved the design for the park earlier this month.

"We've already started some of the work," Mr. Morris said. "We've put in some trees between the sidewalk and the street; we've put some lighting in, some irrigation; and we're presently mounting the transformer that will feed the African American Center and the park."

It will be a passive park, with a few benches, a walking area and possibly a fence around it.

"The idea is to just to give folks a good sense of peace as they're coming into downtown," Mr. Morris said. "We want folks to feel comfortable downtown. We want them to say this is a good place to come and sit down and eat lunch."

Because the city wants to create a tranquil setting, not much concrete or blacktop will be used.

"We're going to be using a lot of natural materials, a lot of plant material and a lot of brickwork on the pathways just to try to make it something a little bit out of the ordinary," the public works director said.

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


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