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Additional lighting, walkways and activities planned for Aiken's overgrown parkways

The parkway in front of the Aiken Municipal Building will act as the model; WFXG. The parkway in front of the Aiken Municipal Building will act as the model; WFXG.

Park Avenue is named Park Avenue because it is, believe it or not, lined with parkways.
And they have become overgrown with plants, obscuring sightlines.
Several groups in the city are looking to make the changes needed to bring these parkways back to life.
Those groups include Aiken Young Professionals, the city's chamber of commerce and downtown development association, Aiken Corporation, and the Connect Aiken Group.

"The thought is to lower the bushes down and the shrubs to around three feet so people can see around them and limb up the trees just a little bit so people can have a view window," said Tim O'Briant, Aiken's communications manager.

Additional lighting and walkways, along with activity areas for lawn games, are on the checklist.
The parkway in front of the Municipal Building will act as the example, showcasing the possibilities of the project.

"We want to connect these parks one to another, so perhaps one day you could take a stroll from Laurens Street all the way down to Union Street," said O'Briant.

The costs will be bundled into normal maintenance for the city's public works department, while donations and corporate sponsors will handle the rest.
The project cannot start soon enough for those worried about safety.

"I think they should clean up these parkways, yes," said Joseph Iannelli, owner of the Italian restaurant Casa Bella. "Because if you see these bushes, anybody can hide behind those bushes."

Others like the thought of an escape right across the street.

"With people being able to come downtown more and have something to do besides just shop and go to eat," said Dustin Fleming, who works in the city. "Just walk with their dogs or family, it will bring a lot more positive influence to the downtown area."

And another sees this as long overdue maintenance.

"It is important to create a healthy and environmentally friendly and safe green space to revive and preserve the beauty of downtown Aiken," said Rozlyn Humphrey, an Aiken local.

It's important to note that nothing is being removed--only added.
There are over 170 parkways in the city of Aiken, many running along Park Avenue, and the groups involved want to see it handled with care.

"We want to be sensitive to the history of the parkways and to Aiken itself, so we want to be cautious about anything we do to alter them in any way," said O'Briant.

You can give your opinion on the parkway project at the Aiken Municipal Building tomorrow at 2pm.
Works begins on the parkway in front of the municipal building later this spring.

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