Florence city and business leaders discuss area’s growth at annual community breakfast
FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Creating a better community was the focus for city and business leaders in Florence at the annual Florence Chamber of Commerce community breakfast Friday morning.
With the rapid growth in the area this year, the chamber brought in City Manager Drew Griffin to discuss how the city continues to move forward.
"I think that we are reaching into areas of our community that historically we have not," Griffin said.
Griffin opened the meeting with a picture of a junkyard he said represented a time of division and turmoil in the community, several years ago. Hope Health now stands in its place.
Griffin said the day that the junkyard was removed was the day the transformation began.
"There was a real feeling of accomplishment cause what they were seeing was change and that was exciting for them," he said.
Planning, commitment and advocacy are the three key attributes Griffin said helped revitalize the community and continue to move it forward.
During the breakfast, Griffin talked about six areas of the city’s comprehensive plan: community health, economic development, community livability, financial stability, organizational stress/development and cultural change throughout the community.
He also shared projects of investment to those areas, showcasing neighborhood and downtown redevelopment.
It’s change Cecilia Meggs, executive director of Lighthouse Ministries, has seen first-hand.
“It’s grown, it’s become vibrant... great businesses downtown,” Meggs said.
Griffin said one of the things he’s most proud of is downtown revitalization, with up to $200 million invested over the past ten years.
As for challenges the city deals with, Griffin said they're trying to figure out a way to solve the constant flooding issues that the current storm water system is not equipped to handle.
Looking ahead, Griffin said he hopes to grow the food and tourism culture in the area along with furthering neighborhood redevelopment and bringing in more businesses.
"The city is committed to not just helping businesses downtown, but helping people that live in those areas downtown," Meggs said.
“That they see reinvestment and they see hope, much of our neighborhoods lack that and we need to create a better opportunity for them,” Griffin said.
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