Aiken City Council members and staff are reviewing how to better use some of the City of Aiken’s properties.
Council requests for buildings:
Administration and Finance Building:
• Signage for building
• Changes to lobby to reflect Aiken
• Second floor access
• Office space for the mayor
• Evaluate problems with the asphalt and draining grates in the parking lot
• Provide office space for all the individuals currently in the Newberry Street substation
• Work with ADDA to possibly relocate into the building
• Determine what changes need to be done to accommodate
• Provide options to the committee on future use of the conference center
• Review options on use for the land along The Alley and Newberry
For some time, Council has discussed both the status and future of the City’s Municipal Building on Park Avenue, the Administration and Finance Building on Laurens Street and the Aiken Department of Public Safety office located on Newberry Street.
The Municipal Building’s bottom floor once housed staff, but now offices sit vacant. In 2012, Council approved the purchase and renovation of the Administration and Finance Building at 135 Laurens St., and City staff relocated there. The building, once home to First Citizen’s Bank, had been vacant for more than 10 years.
Approximately $3 million of Capital Project Sales Tax funds was designated for that project. The purchase price was approximately $750,000, and $1.5 million was used to cover renovations.
For that building, some Council members have asked for clearer signage, a lobby to reflect Aiken and easier access to the second floor.
Council members have even suggested moving the mayor’s office into the building.
“It seems trivial, but to a visitor or a business potentially going to be here, going up to the (Municipal Building) second floor and then into a dark hall where there’s a little cubby hole for the mayor says something,” interim City Manager Roger LeDuc said.
In the Municipal Building, Council members want to move staff into the bottom floor, to include Public Safety personnel, other staff members and possibly the Aiken Downtown Development Association.
Council members have expressed the desire to move Public Safety and staff out of their current building on Newberry Street into the Municipal building.
Moving the Downtown Association out of its current location at 208-A The Alley is still in limbo, according to LeDuc.
The conference room in the back of the Municipal Building is available for receptions, birthday parties and luncheons. Council has discussed in meetings whether that portion should be developed into retail, a restaurant or renovated for the Downtown Association.
Currently, Council has about $1.4 million left in Capital Project Sales Tax funds for renovations.
LeDuc said by Council’s next meeting, he hopes to have more ideas of how to consolidate or renovate the buildings for Council approval.
Maayan Schechter is the local government reporter with Aiken Standard. An Atlanta native, she has a mass communications-journalism degree with the University of North Carolina Asheville. Follow her on Twitter @MaayanSchechter.
Staff photo by Maayan Schechter What many Aiken residents call the “new building,” or the City of Aiken Finance and Administration Building, could see changes if Aiken City Council chooses. Many Council members have asked that the downstairs area have more of an “Aiken look” and that there be easier access to the second floor.×