Aiken Railroad Drainage Project-Very Successful Project: We have completed the Aiken Railroad Drainage Project (except minor roadway repair to be done) and would like to report that this project was completed on time, under budget, with a perfect safety record, and surprisingly without public complaints.  Success of this job can be attributed to an excellent team effort by Hayward Baker (the contractor), Cranston Engineering Group (Design and Construction Support), and ECS Southeast (independent testing agency). The project was completed $86,443 below the contract price as a result of value engineering exercises by the contractor and  Cranston.  A portion of this savings can be attributed to another team member, Blair Hodges and through his efforts we were able to repair a portion of the existing storm drain without excavation which helped us avoid a deep and complicated shoring task. The contractor, mobilized and immediately produced results.  With the fast pace of construction, Cranston was able to support this pace by expedited approvals of changes and solid engineering support with cost savings input relative to constructability.  This was an excellent effort on both of their responsibilities.  To my knowledge there were no public complaints, which is quite unusual considering the complexity of the work with heavy equipment and the location of the work across the street from the court house and adjacent to The Willcox.  This was further complicated by the elevated volume of traffic due to the York Street bridge closure.  The contractor maintained an orderly and neat job site with proper barricades installed.  Safety practices were commendable.  Traffic delays were minimized by having deliveries done in minimal traffic periods.  Pedestrian site seers could have been a problem, but the contractor was courteous and polite to the public.  We contracted ECS Southeast out of Lexington, SC to do the independent testing.  ECS was very much an integral part of the team and were very responsive to the contractor’s schedule even when short notice changes to schedule were made.  Their reports were accurate with sufficient detail to document the task and results reported in a timely and easy to follow format.  This was a very visible project with conditions that would have been hazardous if contractor had not worked the site properly.  Of note, this project would not have even started on day one without extraordinary help from Janice Rickard.  She was able to get all city signatures on the contract on the same day of receipt while the contractor was literally “on go” to start work.

Carriage Museum Update: The Carriage Museum at Hopelands Gardens houses carriages owned by the Aiken Driving Club. The museum is currently closed in preparation for structural stabilization of the front wall.  Work also includes removing and replacing the concrete floor as well as some lighting improvements, exterior and interior painting, garage doors, gutters, downspouts, and shingle repairs. Recently, in preparation for the renovations, Parks and Recreation staff, with guidance by the Aiken Driving Club, removed and transported carriages from the museum and placed them into storage.  Preliminary site survey work, through support of the Friends of Hopelands and Rye Patch, is soon to be underway.

Public Safety Graduation: Aiken Department of Public Safety Officer Ashley Bouchillon recently graduated from the South Carolina Fire Academy’s eight-week Firefighter Candidate School on Friday, May 12, 2017. Firefighters from fire departments across the state underwent a 320-hour training program of classroom and hands-on firefighting skills development. The in-depth training, offered quarterly at the South Carolina Fire Academy, includes emergency responder first aid training, hazardous materials operations training, auto extrication, flammable liquids and gas firefighting, rescue training, and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Firefighter I and Firefighter II levels. The South Carolina Fire Academy’s Firefighter Candidate School is a very challenging program that requires team work, in-depth study, extensive hands-on training with live fires, eight practical skills evaluations and seven written tests to meet the National Fire Protection Association standards. Congratulations to Aiken Public Safety’s newest firefighter!

SCMIRF Law Enforcement Grant: This year the Aiken Department of Public Safety has received a $4,000 reimbursement from the South Carolina Municipal Insurance and Risk Financing Fund (SCMIRF).  In the past the maximum reimbursement has been $2,000.  These funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are used to help member agencies in obtaining products or services that may help reduce the frequency and severity of claims.

Eustis Park: Asbestos abatement is continuing with demolition to follow in the next few weeks.  We are anticipating a bid around mid-July for construction.  The solicitation will remain open for six weeks with bid opening in late August.  Construction is expected to take a year for completion.

Northside Park: This project was scheduled to be placed out for bid on June 22, 2017.  The solicitation will remain open for four weeks with bid opening on July 27, 2017.  Construction is expected to take nine months for completion.

New Fire Truck to be Picked Up: Members of Public Safety will travel to Bradenton, FL on Tuesday, June 27, 2017, with representatives of Spartan Fire & Emergency to inspect and take delivery of a new fire engine. The 2017 Pierce Saber features a 1500 GPM pump, 1,000 gallon water tank, and a 30 gallon Class A foam tank. We look forward to bringing our new truck home and putting it in service.


Commendations: Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director Jessica Campbell received a voicemail from David Tavernier regarding the Parks staff that assisted the Friends of Hopelands/Rye Patch in unloading of the fiberglass horses from off the delivery truck and into a warehouse for temporary storage.  These are the horses that local artists will be painting, to be installed later this year into the newly renovated stalls at Rye Patch. He stated, “Everything went smoothly.  Your guys were like angels from heaven. Let me tell you we could not have done it without them.  We are so appreciative of your helping us out with all of that.  The horses were taken off the truck and put in the warehouse.  Your guys helped unpack them and set them in place for us. It was just a tremendous help. Thank you, thank you so very much for all that you’ve done for us.  Just want you to know how much we really appreciate it.  Have a good day.”

Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director Jessica Campbell received a thank you letter from Darrell Bennett, of the Augusta Recreation & Parks Department, thanking her for allowing his department to borrow some portable fencing for a softball tournament that was held at Diamond Lakes Regional Park.

An article was written in the Aiken Standard, Stormwater Drainage Project on Chesterfield Street Completed. In this article, it is stated that Supervisor I Blair Hodges and Assistant City Engineer Pearce Atkins played integral roles in the completion of this project.  The article is attached.

Dale Haas, of 810 Fermata Place, wrote to brag about the performance of Maintenance Worker I Shawn Cobbs.  He is always upbeat, personable, and very professional in carrying out his duties.  His smile and attitude are both infectious and he is an outstanding ambassador for our All America City each and every day he is on-the-job. He stated he is only one resident/customer but he is assured that anyone else in our city that is lucky enough to interact with Shawn would have nothing but similar comments or praise for this gentleman’s work ethic, friendliness, and helpful demeanor. The City of Aiken is blessed to have him on staff.

Bill Reynolds, President of the Friends of Hopelands and Rye Patch, sent a note to commend the Parks and Recreation staff under the supervision of Parks Manager Jeff Metz for their excellent work in moving the antique carriages from the Carriage Museum. They were very conscientious and professional and went to great lengths to be sure the carriages were carefully handled in loading and transporting them to the warehouse so the Carriage Museum restoration can proceed. Rye Patch Supervisor Samantha Radford was just as diligent in her handling of the pictures and other driving paraphernalia that had to be removed and stored.  They are a real credit to the City.

Jacqueline Thompson, of 888 Trail Ridge Road, wrote a letter to Public Services Manager Tim Coakley thanking him for the assistance of Vehicle Operator Chip Toole.

City Events:

Tuesday, July 4:  City offices will be closed in observance of Independence Day.  All trash, recycling and yard waste collection this week will be delayed one day.  City offices will reopen on Wednesday, July 5 at 8:10 p.m.

Thursday, July 6 at 6:30 p.m.:  The Design Review Board will hold its regular monthly meeting in Council Chambers, Second Floor of the Municipal Building, 214 Park Ave.,

Monday, July 10 at 7:00 p.m.:  The next regularly scheduled City Council meeting will be held in Council Chambers, Second Floor of the Municipal Building, 214 Park Ave., SW.