While Aiken County has some true recreational gems, improvements are certainly needed throughout the area, especially in our rural communities.

A plan recently finalized by Aiken County officials, however, should hopefully fill those burgeoning gaps.

Earlier this year, the County contracted with Clemson University to develop an initiative aimed at improving rec opportunities in our community. When fully implemented, this plan should ultimately improve the quality of life for residents.

While North Augusta’s Rec Center and Aiken’s H. Odell Weeks Activities Center and Citizens Park should be considered some of the best in the state, not all residents of the County have convenient access to those facilities.

This plan calls for partnerships between the County’s rec program and those of North Augusta and Aiken. This collaboration should help guide Aiken County’s program in a new and positive direction.

The efforts of County staff to facilitate these upgrades should be commended. A lack of quality recreational opportunities has a direct link to how residents enjoy their community. It even can contribute to economic development and growth. Industry leaders want to locate in vibrant communities where their employees can make an easy transition. Offering quality schools for children and having top-notch recreational programs are certainly an enticement to business leaders.

New County rec staff have also been hired to help facilitate fresh marketing initiatives that will be beneficial in spotlighting our programs and facilities, including hidden jewels such as Langley Pond and Boyd Pond Park.

Aiken County residents should expect resourceful spending from local policy makers as well as a focus on recreational needs.

This plan appears to accomplish those goals.