City holds reception for new finance building

Submitted photo Aiken Mayor Fred Cavanaugh, with cap, prepares to cut the ribbon for the city's new administrative building on Laurens Street Saturday. He's joined in the front row by Chamber of Commerce President David Jameson and City Manager Richard Pearce.

Not only did construction company owner Joe Walker and son-in-law, Jason Rushton, complete renovations for the City of Aiken’s new administration and finance building.

“They did the (barbecue) meat and hash for us and it was great,” said City Manager Richard Pearce following a reception and ribbon-cutting on Saturday.

The event attracted people who had a role in the much-anticipated project. They included those who helped with electronics and the computer system, employees from several city departments, Chamber of Commerce members and officials and neighbors of the building at 135 Laurens Street.

The administration facility will provide more access for the public, with employees accepting payments for utility bills, providing business licenses and conducting any other business that was previously handled at the Municipal Building.

“City Hall dates from 1938, and the last renovation was in 1987,” Pearce said. “It really stretched the space, and we needed it for 200 to 300 people. This new building allowed us to have some really professional office space. It’s more accessible and gets more activity on Laurens Street and downtown”

The new facility opened on Dec. 17. Pedestrians came in and those stopping at the drive-thru “can actually talk to a human and not just a tube,” Pearce said. “There’s a lot more room, and people appreciate not having to huddle and spill into a hallway.”

The 12,000 square-foot building was built in 1968. It had been the First Citizens Bank at the time it became vacant in 2005.