There have been a couple of editorials written recently about the old Aiken hospital property. According to reports, the property either has been or is being purchased by WTC Investments and the old hospital buildings will be torn down and replaced by a hotel, conference center, apartments and a parking garage.
First of all, I am in favor of demolishing the existing buildings because they are an eyesore and probably filled with asbestos and lead based on when they were built. What I am not in favor of is using taxpayer dollars to pay for any part of the project. This is a private development and should be financed with private funds. Some of the people involved in WTC Investments are the same as were involved with the FineDeering development several years ago.
Fortunately the $37 million Tax Increment Financing proposal that was requested by FineDeering was shot down by the school board and County Council. There should be no public-private partnership in the hospital development.
The city manager apparently referenced the use of Hospitality Tax money to assist WTC. The Hospitality Tax is nothing but a slush fund for City Council and should have been repealed a long time ago like the mayor promised before he was elected. If the hospital project is worth doing it should be totally privately financed and should not receive any bailout from taxpayer money.