FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - A project more than 20 years in the making is finally coming together in Florence County. Tuesday afternoon, the city of Florence will celebrate the construction of two new community centers at Dr. Iola Jones Park and Maple Park with groundbreaking ceremonies.
"The community has been asking for it repeatedly for years and years since I’ve been in Florence and finally it’s going to happen,” city councilwoman, Pat Gibson-Hye Moore, said.
Chuck Pope, Director of Public Works, said one of the new buildings will replace the current facility that’s more than 60 years old at Maple Park on Gregg Avenue.
"It's had some flooding issues in the past and we've tried to remediate those and make some improvements, but it's time to do away with that one and put up a new one," Pope said.
Each of the new nearly 4,500 square foot buildings will have a large youth activity space, lounge room, senior adult area, and computer rooms.
The facility at Iola Jones will also have an 800 square foot boxing space for a current youth boxing program along with other improvements to the walking trail, parking lot and basketball courts.
“Some were going to Levy Park, some were going to Northwest, but now they can stay at home right there in North Florence and enjoy their own community,” Gibson Hye-Moore said.
The cost of the buildings’ construction and design is 2.5 million dollars paid for through the 15 million dollar bond city council approved in 2017 for parks and recreation improvements.
“I mean everyone deserves a good quality of life... this will help,” Gibson-Hye Moore said. This is will give the children someplace to go that they’re safe and they’re inside the building, they will have after-school programs um the seniors will have a center for day programs and take trips."
Construction is expected to begin in February and will take eight months to complete.