Aiken: Game changer needed

The Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce is focused on the community’s prosperity in the 21st century, and the organization remains keenly aware of the need for economic vitality to enhance Aiken’s future.

A proposal was recently presented to Aiken City Council that would fund economic vitality initiatives in Aiken. The Chamber Board unanimously approved supporting the reinvestment proposal to be funded by a 1 percent hospitality tax on prepared food.

Other areas of South Carolina are seeing significant economic growth, but Aiken County is not. A game changer is needed if we want to move forward.

The Board feels that the game changer is an investment in the business growth of our community. The projected annual investment of $1.2 million could be used in the following areas:

  • Business related investment: infrastructure for Northside corridors, a downtown parking facility, Southside regional detention pond and municipal airport improvements.
  • Business license rebates and other incentives: license fee relief for local small businesses.
  • Business vitality division: business ombudsman, business outreach, retail assistance and recruitment.
  • Enterprise capital reserves: infrastructure expansion, business recruitment, collaboration with Aiken County, new venture fund, increased participation with Economic Development Partnership.

The reinvestment strategy builds on the Chamber’s 2014 multiyear commitment to expand the economic vitality emphasis of its program of work.

Families plan for and set aside money for their future. It is only reasonable for the City of Aiken to do the same. If the city provides a business-friendly infrastructure, a major barrier to development will be removed, and economic growth will be stimulated leading to prosperity for all the citizens of our community.

J. David Jameson

 

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