The proposed four to five lane construction on the Hitchcock Parkway will destroy numerous properties, blight the entire area and turn the parkway into a massive freeway complete with ugly noise barriers is simply overkill.

Our citizens group has been asking for a change in the “purpose and need” for a cost-effective, nondestructive and sensible approach to the improvements. We have been ping-ponged between the Aiken Council meetings and the ARTS Council, having been told repeatedly, since the inception of this project, that we were not at the correct venue for our complaints to be heard.

The question was raised both to the members of the S.C. Subcomittee of the Augusta Regional Transportation study and S.C. Department of Transporation representatives as to where that proper venue would be and the audience received no answer.

One must surmise there is no proper venue at which the overflow crowd may express their displeasure. Aiken Mayor Fred Cavanaugh’s response is to close the meetings before allowing audience input. This maneuver makes it impossible to get anything on the record.

The project has not received the “required environmental studies” afforded similar proposals and one must wonder at the “hidden agenda.” There is also not enough money available to complete a project that appears to have no definable budget limits.

Those of us who have spent professional lives adhering to budgets cannot comprehend the cavalier attitude of the politicians. We cannot afford to pick up the tab, whatever it may be This is good old boy politics at its worst. The mandate touted by the politicians for a portion of the money came from a vote for a tax raise with wording most voters never read or comprehended.

Please be advised: We are angry. We will be heard. We will not go away.

Tom and Jo Santay