If the resolution passes, the Aiken Municipal Airport will become the Aiken Regional Airport. Slightly altering the name came at the request of the General Aviation Commission. The city-owned airport is now the 11th busiest in South Carolina, and it is the group’s opinion that changing the name will more accurately reflect the growth and improvements at the airport over the last 15 years.
Major updates include constructing a new terminal building, expanding the terminal apron, and installing an instrument landing system. The airport currently serves an average of 120 aircraft daily, most of which are classified general aviation, a category that covers corporate jets, agricultural aviation, flight training, flying clubs, gliders, powered parachutes and light aircraft maintenance.
A second resolution before Council centers on infrastructure. As the city moves forward with renewing its downtown, major repairs need to be done, and quickly. Some waterlines are pushing 105 years old; water valves in some blocks have been there since 1911; and many corrugated pipes are more than 25 years old, placing them in the “high risk for failure” category. George Grinton, the city’s engineering and utilities manager, says these pipes are inadequate for conditions in the area and have tended to corrode and fail.
Areas of major concern include Laurens and Newberry streets between Park and Richland avenues, and Hayne Avenue from Laurens to Pendleton streets.
Councilman Dick Dewar and staff members have asked Council to pass a resolution that would require an engineer-led evaluation of valves, water and sewer lines, fire hydrants and storm water pipes along those streets as soon as possible.
In addition, Council will consider hiring a utilities and construction manager to expedite the process. If approved, money for the new employee will come from the Capital Project Sales Tax Fund.
City staff is expected to present to Council a funding request for Phase 1 of the infrastructure plan on April 30.
Council meets on March 27, 2017 at 7 p.m. at City Hall on Park Avenue. An executive session will be called at 5 p,m. to discuss a contractual matter and several lawsuits.