With blueprints finally approved, the Rev. Robert Heflin said Hayden Baptist Church might finally have the ball rolling for its construction in Willow Industrial Park.


Previously located on Hayden Road, Hayden Baptist Church served the Shaws Fork community in Aiken County since 1868. But during the summer of 2012, lightning struck the building and it burned down. With help and support, according to Heflin, Aiken County and the City of Aiken helped move the house of worship into city limits on about six acres off Beaufort Street.


“It's been a long process getting the plans together for the church and now that we have all of that approved, now it's time for the legal part,” Heflin said. “We have a lawyer for the church and he's looking over all of the contracts. I truly believe we're now on the right track.”


Hayden Baptist and City Council members broke ground on the new property in August 2013, but currently, the church is still meeting at the Aiken Electric Cooperative on Wagener Road. The new church building will include seating for about 250 people and bricks from the former church building will be used to build the new structure or a memorial at the new site.


“There will be a lot of differences from the last church to this one because we just can't afford the same type of church,” Heflin said. “That was a beautiful church, and prior to it burning down, we had just put down $75,000 in renovations.”


Heflin said he was not sure about the date on which the construction and legal process would be complete, but said he and his congregants hope to be in the new building by August for their summer revival.


“We're just so thankful, and we have to give thanks to Aiken Electric Cooperative and First Presbyterian Church,” Heflin said. “But really, you can't leave out the community either. The community has just been so supportive.”


Maayan Schechter is the city beat reporter with Aiken Standard. An Atlanta native, she has a mass communications-journalism degree from the University of North Carolina Asheville. Follow her on Twitter @MaayanSchechter.