The City of Aiken, SC (pop. 29,524) commissioned Benchmark Planning to prepare an update to its comprehensive plan in 2016. With a thriving historic core that represents one of the few planned cities in the South of its vintage, the city has blossomed over the years into a destination for equestrian activities and golfing. Located in close proximity to both the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site and Augusta, GA, Aiken has benefited significantly from the economic growth in the region. The focus of the planning effort will be to establish a framework for continued growth and economic development that also preserves the city’s character.
The Comprehensive Plan examined key focus areas and growth outside of the City’s municipal boundary within the utility service area. The key themes of the plan included 1) Growth; 2) Connectivity; 3) Transformation; 4) Consistency; 5) Balance; and 6) Investment. Public engagement included workshops across the city, stakeholder/focus group meetings, an online website, and meetings with the Planning Commission.