City of Aiken Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism
The City of Aiken Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Master Plan
The City of Aiken Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Master Plan details the process and results of a needs assessment conducted by Clemson University researchers October-November 2021. It provides strategic recommendations to guide the future development and sustainability of park, land, and recreational programs and amenities in the City of Aiken. The plan’s key components include reviewing facilities, programs, and services to have a departmental mission, vision, and goals; reviewing short-range and long-range planning efforts; and studying organizational and financial structure.
These recommendations only serve as a guide for the City of Aiken Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism. Each is subject to change based upon existing or projected economic, social, and environmental conditions in Aiken, SC.
Program recommendations include exploring opportunities to provide outdoor recreation, adventure, and environmental education programs. The city should continue to develop, empower and support teen programming, and identify opportunities for arts, cultural, and enrichment programs. The department provides a solid menu of athletic programs and does an excellent job of understanding trends and providing new opportunities as appropriate, considering competitive program offerings by other agencies that attract youth sports participation. Continue to facilitate programs to advance the well-being of seniors in Aiken.
Facility recommendations include undertaking significant renovations, rebuilds, retrofits, and additions at existing facilities that are outdated and showing age. Specifically, attention is needed to modernize facilities located at Odell Weeks and Smith-Hazel. The need for lighted multi-use rectangle fields is high, and expansion within existing open space at Citizens Park is recommended. As Aiken continues to grow, the city should evaluate opportunities at Beverly D. Clyburn Generations Park. Formalized partnerships with the School District should be considered. Trails and greenways for safe walking and biking were identified as the highest priority need. Special events, festival spaces, and entertainment venues were identified across the private and non-profit sectors in Aiken, with opportunities for partnership and growth to support P.R.T. programs and events further.
Operational recommendations focused on the need for improved marketing, promotions and communications, personnel and staffing, and funding and fee structure. Current staffing is stretched to maximum capacity and should grow to meet future demands, maintain facilities, and continue to provide quality service to residents and participants.