AIKEN --- Downtown Aiken's green space medians -- known as parkways -- are slated for changes that officials say should reduce water runoff and offer ideas for other cities.
The "green infrastructure" project is designed to help with stormwater issues in the city's Hitchcock Woods, particularly an area known as Sand River where erosion is a problem. The concept under the direction of Gene Eidson, the director of the Center for Watershed Excellence at Clemson University, is to adjust the city's 105 acres of parkways so they better retain stormwater heading toward Hitchcock Woods.
To do this, rain gardens that include added vegetation could be incorporated into the parkways. Underground cisterns and bio swales could be used, as well.
Dr. Eidson has outlined his project to city council members, and construction should start by late fall. He said that Aiken would serve as a model city and that others could emulate the project.
Research, design and analysis work will involve the help of Clemson graduate students and will be aided by up to $3.3 million in stimulus funds.
Dr. Eidson said no trees will be removed from the parkways. City officials have said the project will start with a few parkways, but "eventually we want to get to every parkway," City Manager Roger LeDuc said in a recent council meeting.