A Sunday Aiken Standard editorial implying a proposed parking structure in Downtown Aiken will not include ground-floor retail space was based on an entirely false premise.

In fact, the resolution authorizing negotiations regarding the construction of the proposed mixed-use facility during a special City Council meeting last week specifically and directly requires the inclusion of retail space in the project. The proposed parking facility will include such commercial space if constructed. Beyond that, the broader revitalization project that includes City property at 135 Laurens Street SW and the Brinkley lot next to the Aiken Municipal Building, promises to infuse Downtown with an additional 40,000 to 50,000 square feet of retail, office space, and housing.

The title of the resolution passed last Wednesday itself incorporates this mixed-use sentiment boldly and clearly. The lengthy title of the unanimously approved measure is, “A Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to enter into negotiations with the preferred developer for a potential parking garage located above and around retail uses to be located at the southwest corner of Richland Avenue and Newberry Street.”