AYP shares ideas with Aiken City Council

The Aiken Young Professionals had a seat at the table during Aiken City Council’s Horizons Retreat February 1 when the City invited them to present their wish list for Aiken’s future.

Representing the 260-member voice of the 22- to 39-year olds were AYP Chair Derrick McLane, URS Corporation; Chair of Community Service Avery Spears Mahoney, Aiken Downtown Development Association; and Past Chair Melissa Viola, Law Offices of Tom Young, Jr., PC.

“I think our presentation brought a different perspective to Council members and possibly to the future of our community.  We appreciate the opportunity to be a part of our City’s planning process,” said Chair McLane.

McLane, Spears Mahoney, and Viola presented an AYP wish list that fell into three categories – green space, infrastructure, and recreation/programs.  They provided details of each based on input from AYP members.

Green Space
Provide bike corridors connecting outlying neighborhoods to downtown (Whiskey Road, Richland Avenue, Banks Mill Road)
Offer bike stands downtown
Provide more seating and congregation spaces downtown
Encourage downtown businesses to have more café style seating
Ensure green spaces are included with new outlying developments

Infrastructure
Continue support of public school capital improvements to attract and retain young professionals.
Foster the development of affordable and appealing housing options in the downtown districts (former County complex building, Gyles Park area, former City municipal building)
Create downtown market on weekdays/nights for vendors
Build a theater at Gyles Park
Continue support and recruitment of a variety of entertainment options downtown
Offer downtown Wi-Fi connection
Foster a diverse downtown small business community

Recreation/Programs
Encourage use of adult sport leagues to foster fellowship and new relationships (kickball, dodge ball, etc.)
Install lights with timer at Citizens Park
Hold a Color Run downtown or 5K in Hitchcock Woods
Offer bike rentals for downtown use
Offer a consolidated Community Calendar developed by partnering organizations (City of Aiken, Aiken Downtown Development Association, and the Aiken Standard) and create an effective plan to promote it
Offer food truck tour and showcase

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