Aiken City Council approved a $367,437 plan for Clemson University to conduct a green infrastructure study in Hitchcock Woods, a proposal that drew nearly three hours of debate and discussion during Monday’s meeting.
Clemson’s plan is aimed at abating stormwater runoff in Hitchcock Woods and is the latest project commissioned by the City over the years to try to decrease the issue.
The proposal was moved forward on a 6-1 vote on Monday with Councilman Reggie Ebner voting against the plan.
Ebner cited Clemson’s lack of a bibliography in the plan as part of his opposition to the proposal. He believed the plan would be more effective if it included a detailed list of previous studies and the information extracted from each one.
According to Dr. Gene Eidson, the director of Clemson University of Applied Ecology, the plan will help to formulate a way to reduce stormwater runoff through Hitchock Woods, which has caused erosion problems and introduced pollutants into the historic urban forest.
He added that the study should help to provide detailed data that will help curb the problem.
The plan, however, was met with some backlash from two Aiken residents, who spoke against the proposal during Monday’s meeting.
Before the study was approved, Aiken resident Dr. Jim Kelly said the proposal would seemingly just be a continuation of previous studies dating back several years.
He added that he believed the group behind the study was largely interested in garnering research grants and wouldn’t likely find a solution that would resolve the issue long term.
Aiken Mayor Fred Cavanaugh said he felt there was still “a lot to learn” about the issue and that he felt the study could make a large impact on the problem.
Councilwoman Lessie Price also supported the plan, but said she did so with “extreme reservation.” She said she hoped a solution would be formulated at least in the next two years.
Look for continued coverage of Monday’s meeting in Wednesday’s paper, including the latest on a proposed renovation project at the municipal building downtown and a resolution to purchase property at Willow Run Industrial Park.