Florence mayor committed to growing Florence in every element

Florence mayor committed to growing Florence in every element
Mayor Wukela at a luncheon in 2014.
Mayor Wukela at a luncheon in 2014.

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - The city of Florence has announced its commitment to redeveloping, enhancing, and improving every element of the community, according to Mayor Steven Wukela.

The mayor issued a statement Friday, boasting on the multi-million dollar investments the city has spent recreating the look and feel of Florence.

"Within the last year alone, we have facilitated the investment of $11 million by Hope Health to construct a free medical clinic on the site of the former junk yard on the North side of town.

We have funded the construction of a $4.5 million basketball center in Northwest Florence on a site adjacent to the current City-operated Barnes Street Community facility.

We have committed over $7 million in road improvements in the North, Northwest, and Northeast areas of the City, including granting $1 million each on major corridors of Roughfork Street in the North, Sumter Street in the Northwest, and Pine Street in the Northeast.

With the leadership of Teresa Myers-Ervin's Neighborhood Redevelopment Committee, we have adopted a neighborhood redevelopment plan for the North, the Northeast and the Northwest parts of town and funded the initial phase of the redevelopment with 3 Million Dollars. At the same time, we are underway spending ½ Million Dollars obtaining and demolishing abandoned and dilapidated properties within these neighborhoods.

Just this week, minority businesswomen Charlene Lowry, Starlee Alexander, and Doris Lockhart announced the opening of a dress boutique in downtown Florence. They join other minority downtown investors such as Dr. John Keith, owner and developer of downtown's emerging restaurant row, and Mr. Mike Reichenbach who is investing millions of dollars improving his Ford Dealership in downtown Florence.

The City has certainly provided incentives supporting major developments and creating numerous jobs downtown.

Council also requires that such incentives also contain minority procurement requirements to encourage developers to hire local and minority firms to do the work on the projects. In addition, Councilwoman Ervin has also led the way in providing identification of and education to minority firms to help assist them in bidding for and obtaining these jobs.

The City has not just focused on large investments downtown. In February, Council passed a Resolution creating grants for downtown investments under $250,000.00 which included grants for roof repairs, up fitting, and rent subsidies.

Certainly each of these policies of the last year has benefitted the minority community and the City. More importantly, they were designed as part of a larger strategy to move this City together as a whole. I recognize that the North, Northwest, and Northeast sections of Florence have been historically neglected and we, as a City, are working to right that wrong. We have done so and intend to continue doing so by uniting, not by dividing, and with action rather than with empty rhetoric."

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