WMBF Investigates: Why Florence is taking bids on renovating McQ - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

WMBF Investigates: Why Florence is taking bids on renovating McQueen Street property

Two homes were selected for renovation on North McQueen Street in Florence. (Source: Audrey Biesk) Two homes were selected for renovation on North McQueen Street in Florence. (Source: Audrey Biesk)
A bid was just approved to begin renovation work at 337 North McQueen Street in Florence. (Source: Audrey Biesk) A bid was just approved to begin renovation work at 337 North McQueen Street in Florence. (Source: Audrey Biesk)

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - A WMBF News viewer had one question; why was the city of Florence taking bids to recondition a property on McQueen Street? 

The bids for the work closed Thursday at 2 p.m., with city officials choosing the lowest bid of $28,550. 

The city does not own the property, located at 337 N. McQueen St. John Hunter does and he has lived there his whole life. For him, there is history on the street.

Hunter lost his father in 1988, followed by his mother. 

"Right on this street, and I had lost two brothers and a sister," he said.

Hunter’s only sister put in an application to the city to do some renovations around the house. He said he didn’t know much about it, but two days ago he got the news that his home qualifies under the Housing and Urban Development Grant.

The $28,550 will come from federal grant money the city is entitled to, according to Florence City Manager Drew Griffin. He said $230,000 annually goes toward renovating low-income housing.

The work on Hunter's home will be done soon. 

“Some exterior is as simple as making all windows open and closed, add locks as needed," Griffin said. "All of the work is to make it safe or up to sanitary standards." 

According to Griffin, since the federal community development money is limited, the three or four projects per year the city selects are dependent on the amount of work needed.

"As a matter of fact, this gentleman [Hunter] has been on the waiting list for seven years and he has finally risen to the top," Griffin said.

The city has a few options when it comes to spending the grant money, such as using it to clear a lot if it is a nuisance to the community.

Griffin said some of the older neighborhoods, like in the east and the northwest, have abandoned properties all over. However, if someone is living in the home that is selected, like Hunter's, the city offers a place to live during the rehab construction process, which is 30 to 45 days.

The city said it is taking the same approach to the neighborhoods as it is to downtown. According to Griffin, the goal is not to build down, but to build up to what the neighborhoods used to look like.

"There are over a 1,000 dilapidated, abandoned buildings just within the neighborhood strategic areas," Griffin said. 

Hunter will see these improvements at zero cost, and it is something his sister wanted for him seven years ago.

"I guess they are going to take all the stuff inside. They say they are going to put new walls down and all, paint, all kinds of stuff,” he said. “It’ll save her money and me too and, well, it’ll be a change."

That change has the possibility of being bittersweet.

"That color yellow has been there for so long. This was my mom’s favorite color. It was her color yellow," Hunter said. "This was her favorite color, so my daddy went with that. He painted it yellow, yeah he did."

Copyright 2017 WMBF News All rights reserved.

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