$4 million gym coming to Florence

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - The City of Florence is pumping $4 million into one project aimed directly at benefiting the people who live there.

Come next year, some of the space on Barnes Street will be full of work crews working on that $4 million gym.

"The YMCA is quite a ways and far across town too. And there is nothing on this side of the railroad that I know of that is in comparison," James Byrd.

James Byrd's TV repair shop is located just feet away from where city leaders will soon build a new gymnasium for the community.

"Right now it will be a city gym. So as far as access it will be accessible by the public anyone who's a Florence native," said Teresa Myers Ervin, Florence City Councilwoman.

The new facility will feature educational classrooms and offer facilities to play volleyball. But it's the four basketball courts city leaders are excited about.The city would like to attract major traveling basketball competitions to our area, capturing those tourism dollars means some major construction will have to happen.

"Some of the land that you see may have old buildings that will have to come down, and we will have additional parking spaces there," said Myers Ervin.

While four millions dollars for a gym may seem like a lot, James Byrd says he's glad to see it spent on a facility catered to the community.

"Four million dollars, that's not a whole lot in comparison to some other monies they've been spending around," said Byrd.

"We need things to keep our youth occupied, and that's step number one having a place where they can have activities as well as educational activities," said Myers Ervin.

This project is being paid for by money generated from recent developments in Downtown Florence.

"And the money from the TIF District will be generated from all the investments we made in downtown so that's the great thing about it. We will not be raising tax money,"said Meyers Ervin.

Membership to the gym will be extended to the community.

Right now, it's not clear how much those memberships will cost. Construction is set to begin in 2014.

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