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Reviving the Aiken Farmers Market Corridor

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 6:27 PM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - One of Aiken’s most historic areas is on track to get a major makeover. This is a first-look at renderings of plans to transform the Aiken Farmers Market and the Williamsburg Street Corridor.

The city’s plan is simple, they want to redevelop around and behind the farmers market that’s their goal. That includes fixing up these old houses and changing them into retail shops and restaurants. They’re also looking to add more housing in the area. City leaders say this is a gamechanger for the city moving forward.

Phase one is underway at the Aiken Farmers Market as the city works to bring new life to the east side of downtown.

“The farmers market attracts so many people. If you come here on a Saturday morning you can’t find a parking space,” said Gail Diggs, District 1 Representative for the City of Aiken.

That’s why the city is working to invest $1 million to re-develop the Williamsburg Corridor around the Aiken Farmers Market.

“This area basically was dead. This is going to rejuvenate this part of district one, and this city,” said Diggs.

Here’s what the city is doing to spark some movement in the area. They’re putting in commercial, retail, and residential space around the market. This will include restaurants, apartments, single-family homes, and retails shops. The city says the farmers market acts as the anchor for the downtown area now.

“I want to see this area grow and progress. Haven’t seen any movement in a long time. It’s overdue and it’s going to be a gamechanger for future investors,” said Diggs.

The city says it’s a perfect way to expand downtown, bringing in new businesses to the area.

“It would be a very natural public, private partnership. as you can see there’s already been some private investment in this area,” said Stuart Bedenbaugh, Aiken City manager.

That private investment is already happening right here in these older homes. The city says re-developing this side of town doesn’t happen overnight but we could see some changes come quickly.

“I would say it’s going to take several years. It’s going to be done in phases but over the next few years you’ll see some noticeable changes,” said Bedenbaugh.

The city says that we’re also in an opportunity zone meaning the city will get economic incentives the more they develop in this area. It’s just another reason the city says it makes sense to expand downtown this way.

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