Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 News 12 NBC 26 at 6 O’Clock
AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) — Buildings once focal points of the community, now left vacant for years and community members want to see change.
“I think it’s time for them to clean up the mess,” Frieda Walker said, her friend Martha Opalewski has lived in Clearwater for decades and she agrees, “I think clean it up is the main thing.”
Many suitors showing interest in Seminole Mill in Clearwater, but none have gone through. Now Aiken County is looking for proposals in hopes that someone finally develops the old mill.
“Hopefully someone is going to come in, they’re going to purchase the property, have a plan for it and it’s going to be a positive again for this community,” Aiken County Councilmember LaWanna McKenzie said.
But it’s not going to be just anything coming into the property. The county and McKenzie want something to fit in with the neighborhood.
“It could be additional housing, it could be housing with a mixture of some type of businesses that would fit in with the neighborhood,” she said.
The mill site is not the only property looking for redevelopment. The county is also asking for plans for the old Aiken County Hospital just outside of downtown Aiken.
“We promised the city we would not do anything that would detract from the beauty of downtown Aiken and not let that place sit there and fall apart,” County Administrator Clay Killian said.
While the building is getting interest now, redeveloping the property and the old city council building across the street is not so cut and dry.
“We’ve actually shown the building to a couple folks, once they get inside and walk around they understand the challenges that building presents,” Killian said.
The hope to be able to use some of either existing building, but it will depend on the proposals. While the request for proposals for the hospital building have not gone out yet, Killian says they will in the next couple weeks. The proposals for the mill property are due by October 12 and council should select a proposal by mid-November.