Florence leaders work to improve major corridors

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Major changes are being made to improve the corridors that lead into the City of Florence.

The intersection of Highway 52 and Irby Street is seeing a $10 million improvement.

The hope is that a multi-million dollar medical facility soon to be built there and improve the look of thru area, while meeting the needs of the community.

"There is progress being made; the warehouses have come down," Carl Humphries Chief Executive Officer of Hope Health said

The north end of Irby Street is getting a major makeover.

Crews have demolished old, blighted property and have begun clearing the area to make way for the new Hope Health medical facility.

The facility will go up in three phases, and multiple jobs are slated to come with the opening of the new facilities.

Hope Health CEO Carl Humphries said Hope Health as a whole, is growing and there is a need to consolidate some of its facilities.

"But we are also excited about the downtown redevelopment aspect of it. It's going to be great to see this corridor coming into Florence revitalized with a great modern facility," Humphries said.

"They're going to build a great building there. And they are obviously going to beautify that intersection at North Irby and 52 that has been a long term goal of the city," Florence City Manager Drew Griffin said.

But this gateway to Florence isn't the only gateway leaders are working to improve.

"[Highway] 301, which is getting a little bit more attention than [Highway] 52 right now. It's very important because of its location and proximity to the airport," Griffin said.

Highway 301 has brought county and city leaders to the table to look for ways and funding to help remove blight and manicure the area to make it more attractive.

"Many times when businesses are being recruited they come in and out of airplanes through the airport. So that corridor does create an image for the city," Griffin said.

Right now, options to improve Florence's gateways are being explored.

Those options include the possible demolition of blighted property.

The empty dilapidated hotel is one community leaders would like to see removed from the 301 Gateway.

The city and county are currently negotiating with its owner to see how they can assist in helping to spruce up the property.

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