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jjoshjl

How would you make Florence better?

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MC,

You always are good for a laugh. Tell me, are you the victim of an unrequited love from florence, or possibly you got a speeding ticket here or something. Something along along those lines must be the case as your unbridaled hatred is evident in almost each of your posts... But given that, and also given you have just as much a right to post things as i do, if you hate florence so much, what would you do to make it better... and by the way, the answer abandond is not it....

Turn your hatred into something positive and offer ideas... otherwise, leave the conversation to those that do...

How would you make florence better....

Cheers

This topic was split from the Florence thread. -Spartan

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MC,

You always are good for a laugh. Tell me, did you have an unrequited love from florence, or possibly you got a speeding ticket here or something. Something along along those lines must be the case as your unbridaled hatred is evident in almost each of your posts... But given that, and also given you have just as much a right to post things as i do, if you hate florence so much, what would you do to make it better... and by the way, the answer abandond is not it....

Turn your hatred into something positive and offer ideas... otherwise, leave the conversation to those that do...

How would you make florence better....

Cheers

One thing flo could do is engage the entire county. As a native and former resident, the county/city has always partnered without buy-in from the rest of the county. Many of the amenities built by the county, in flo hasn't set well with the rest of the county residents. One being the Civic Center and it's location relative to the rest of the county.

I'm originally from Lake City and have never set foot in the Civic Center because of where it was built, many of my family/friends hasn't either. The city/county of flo need to start sharing the wealth or make an effort respect all tax payers in the county. I still pay taxes for property I own, so I'm not totally out of the loop.

Flo could gain much by simply being a gracious county seat. And maybe that All-American City sign can one day be raised.

Just my HO.

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Extremely good point....

Which actualy brings me to soemthign I am currently working on... How can an investment in downtown Florence benifit outlying areas like lake city and Johnsonville. As you clearly mentioned, florence count isnt jsut the city of florence, this has to be a county wide effort the benifits need to be found/understood for those smaller towns for an effective DT revitalisation.

Example, my understanding is that people in Johnsonville associate more with georgetown than with florence, this obviously needs to change....

So the question goes out, how can investing in the Florence DT Core, not suburbia, benifit you guys.

(as a note, this is relivant to me because i am wokring on getting a group of letters together for each fo the differant council members/mayors/townships throughout florence county 'advertising' the benifits of supporting florence Downton TO THEM, and getting letters together for FLORENCE council members on how 1) it benifits their individual districts, 2) How it supports the county, and 3) WHY it supports the county and not just Florence City)

I know it will take a bit before everythign is compiled, might even be a few months, but when done, All the Mayors, a good percentage of their concil members, the florence mayor and All of the Florence Council memebrs will recieve a personalized Pro DT letter all on the same day...

Cheers

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Extremely good point....

Which actualy brings me to soemthign I am currently working on... How can an investment in downtown Florence benifit outlying areas like lake city and Johnsonville. As you clearly mentioned, florence count isnt jsut the city of florence, this has to be a county wide effort the benifits need to be found/understood for those smaller towns for an effective DT revitalisation.

Example, my understanding is that people in Johnsonville associate more with georgetown than with florence, this obviously needs to change....

So the question goes out, how can investing in the Florence DT Core, not suburbia, benifit you guys.

(as a note, this is relivant to me because i am wokring on getting a group of letters together for each fo the differant council members/mayors/townships throughout florence county 'advertising' the benifits of supporting florence Downton TO THEM, and getting letters together for FLORENCE council members on how 1) it benifits their individual districts, 2) How it supports the county, and 3) WHY it supports the county and not just Florence City)

I know it will take a bit before everythign is compiled, might even be a few months, but when done, All the Mayors, a good percentage of their concil members, the florence mayor and All of the Florence Council memebrs will recieve a personalized Pro DT letter all on the same day...

Cheers

I would be a good first step in mending some fences, but the efforts has to be sincere, with some very strong efforts by the county to uplift the others as well as the county seat.

Bottom line is that flo has to realize that these underdeveloped areas are valuable to the county and it's quest for success.

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Why the personal insults? Did I insult you? Sadly, it's no laughing matter. How would I make Florence better? For one thing I would locate all future FMU expansions downtown or close, maybe buy the Florence Mall property(I'll guarantee you a deal could be made) and locate them there. Stop wasting money on "performing arts centers" and the like. I would get serious about the school system, no matter who gets offended. I would expand Tech into a first rate technical school. And then there are the things we can't talk about. With Florence, almost everything's broken, so where do you begin?

MC,

You always are good for a laugh. Tell me, are you the victim of an unrequited love from florence, or possibly you got a speeding ticket here or something. Something along along those lines must be the case as your unbridaled hatred is evident in almost each of your posts... But given that, and also given you have just as much a right to post things as i do, if you hate florence so much, what would you do to make it better... and by the way, the answer abandond is not it....

Turn your hatred into something positive and offer ideas... otherwise, leave the conversation to those that do...

How would you make florence better....

Cheers

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And then there are the things we can't talk about. With Florence, almost everything's broken, so where do you begin?

Then I suggest you talk about them. Unless its too personal. Whats broken? What needs fixing? What doesn't?

These are questions that you all need to ask yourselves, and questions that I'd like to know the answers to. If you can't discuss what the problems are, how do you ever expect to fix them?

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Well, I would like to know what your list of things that are broken.. but yes, schools need to be fixed, but keep in mind thats everywhere... not just here. Its not a symptom of florence, but a symptom of the over all public school system nationwide. Granted I know I am an optimist, but i seriously doubt it needs to be abandond as you have mentioned in the past. But to the original point, What do you feel is wront and how would you fix it. Everyone here is willing to discuss it.

As a note, I wasnt sending personal insults your way, what I was doing was commenting on how your statements are always so vitriol without any offering of a solution. Its ok to have negative views, but if you do... offer a way to fix it. Dont just say its all crap. Otherwise, you jsut start sounding like a joke.

Anyway... no tit for tat... This isnt realy the place for that. Im more than willing to discuss the issues, but you have to bring the up. You cant jsut say its all broken

Cheers

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Well, I would like to know what your list of things that are broken.. but yes, schools need to be fixed, but keep in mind thats everywhere... not just here. Its not a symptom of florence, but a symptom of the over all public school system nationwide. Granted I know I am an optimist, but i seriously doubt it needs to be abandond as you have mentioned in the past. But to the original point, What do you feel is wront and how would you fix it. Everyone here is willing to discuss it.

As a note, I wasnt sending personal insults your way, what I was doing was commenting on how your statements are always so vitriol without any offering of a solution. Its ok to have negative views, but if you do... offer a way to fix it. Dont just say its all crap. Otherwise, you jsut start sounding like a joke.

Anyway... no tit for tat... This isnt realy the place for that. Im more than willing to discuss the issues, but you have to bring the up. You cant jsut say its all broken

Cheers

There is a difference between tit for tat and actually bring what the problems are to the table. I don't know what the issue are in Florence as well as other people who post here. I am trying to encourage people with more knowlegde that I to share their thoughts and opinions. I can talk about current events and what is happening now, but I lack the know historic reference, and local politics, etc. in Florence to give a truly in depth opinion of what needs to be done. I can only offer my opinion of what I see as a visitor to this fine city.

On the surface, Florence is a nice town. I recently visited Florence, and I got to see more of the city than I have in past visits. I noticed immediately that the city has improved itself over 2 years ago (my last visit). There are many new stores, restaurants, hotels, etc. on McLeod Blvd, and the area where Palmetto and Evans come together has improved significantly in terms of appearance (does that area have a name?). I also visited some of the more affluent areas on the south side of town, which never knew existed. When you go to Florence, the major roads that take you through town do not show off the best side of the city. A visitor (particularly one going to the beach) does not get the impression that Florence is a nice place. The problem could be resolved by making Palmetto St and Evans St more attractive gateways to downtown... trees, sidewalks, mast arm stoplights, etc. as well as encouraging redevelopment along those streetfronts. The physical appearnce of many parts of the city is that of a rundown place. The Pee Dee may have its problems, but Florence does not need to be one of them.

Downtown has shown some improvement, from what I could tell. I will say that I was with a group of people, and I was unable to view the city the way I would like to see it. But I got to go by the library (which looks EXACTLY like the rendering. Its uncanny) and through downtown briefly. It looked to me like the general appearnce had improved somewhat. Based on my previous visit, Florence appears to be on the right path, even if the ball isnt rolling very fast yet. The city needs to foster civic pride somehow. Having a downtown and CBD that you want to show off is one great way to do that (just look at Greenville). I know that there are plans to make that happen. The major problem that I see from reading other's posts about Florence, is that the people there are ambivilant at best toward their downtown. That attitude will have to be changed.

Florence suffers from a suburban fixation. The suburban/sprawly area, though very nice, does not offer much to the city. For me, I think Florence would be a great place to live, but I like a city with a more active urban environment to explore.

Now that I have shared my thoughts, I woud like to hear more about yours, josh, and from anyone else who wants to share. I am certain that come native Florentines have some feelings about this issue.

We haven't heard from newflorfordt in a while. I hope he decides to stop by and share his thoughts on the situation.

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My Thoughts... For what its worth...

1) Downtown is the key. Everything will either start from there, or die from there. If you invest in DT, the rest wilol follow. But it has to be balanced. It needs to be a balance between education, arts retail, offices and msot importantly residential. The last is in my view the most important. You HAVE to get people living AND working downtown. otherwise, you just get a place that closes up shop at 5 pm.

2) As somone recently posted, the entire county must be included in the decisions. The City cannot turn its back on the county. That being said, investments in the county seat will very quickly trickle down to the outlying towns.

3) Street front, not parkling lot front. We need to educate the people about the advantages of street front over a land of parking lots

4) Little to no incentives for Offices and retails in the suburbs. Plenty of incentives for offices/retail to locate DT

5) Lower city taxes for those that live within the CBD and immediate neighborhoods

6) Build up Irby with 4-8 story mixed use midrises from DT to Cherokee Rd. Must line the street, not buried in a parking lot.

7) Build up Evans the same way between DT to Cashua.

8) Allow many of the current structures DT to be razed. Most are extremely Delapidated anyway.

9) More Museums DT.

10) Viable Park system Downtown.

11) rpovide incentives for high tech factories/manufacturing along Pamplico HWY heading to Johnsonville, As well as heading to Lake city.

Just a few thoughts... i have plenty more, but this is jsut a few. I do plan on expanding this and sending it to ouncil members, local developers, a few out of state developers, each of the towns mayors, ect. I am a firm believer in the squeeky wheel theory. I plan on making a lit of noise, maybe something will come out of it, maybe it wont, point is though, im doign soemthign about it...

Cheers Guys

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I like your idea a 4-8 story mixed used midrises, but i think that clustered downtown along irby, dargan, evans, etc. I think going down to Cherokee and over to Cashua is too much for now. We need to densifiy the CBD before we begin to move out like that.

The only mistake regarding the Library is that it is located too far from CBD.

Just a random note: My parents used to own a store (along time age) DT on evans. I remember as a kid exploring the upstairs. The buildings along evans btw dargan and irby are really cool. They don't build things like that anymore. Rests. and Condos would be awesome there.

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How to make Florence better? Fix up downtown like they did with Greenville, duh. :P

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I perused the City and County websites today, and I am confused. To what extent, if any, are the City and County sharing operations? I can't tell if its just planning, or if it includes other departments, or if its just the tower downtown.

Residential property taxes will be out the window next year, so lowering property taxes is irrelevant unless its to businesses.

I disagree with tearing down the old buildings downtown, unless they are literally falling apart. In many cases, the facade coudl be saved and the interior razed. That should onyl be done if its a historic building. No need in saving some random warehouse.

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Would city-county consolidation be feasible for Florence?

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Not at this point sadly... Florence is just too spread otu between towns for that to be effective. maybe one day, but as of right now , it would cause more problems than it woudl fix...

cheers

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Would city-county consolidation be feasible for Florence?

In some ways, it already has. The city/county complex and the civic center are two of the more big ticket items that the county has afforded the City of Florence. There are more, but I just wanted to point out the two most visible ones.

BTW, the civic center has been a drain on county finances and this has caused much discussion relative to county residents, outside of the immediate Flo area.

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A few quick points in response to the recent posts...

The city and county share the government complex and funding/goverance of the civic center. They use to co-own the airport, but it is run by a regional multi-county authority now.

The planning commision was restructured to cover the City and MOST of the county towns. A few choose not to be included, but one that did hold out (Pamplico), is now joining the combined department. A good sign, albeit a small one. The city and county Recreation departments have been merged as well. I think that is the lion-share of the city-county consolidations. An actual total political merger is out of the question. I think it could work in theory, but that is much too progress ive for the local mindset.

I agree that the mid-rise buildings mentioned should be more concentrated, rather than spread out all the way to Cherokee. Also, I would keep as much historic buildings as possible and reasonable. Florence has lost too much of that already.

As for Spartan's comments, he is right about the appearance of certain throughfares, especially Evans, but frankly most people heading to the beach just bypass Florence via I-95 and SC 327. It's more miles but less time. The most attractive cross-town route is Cherokee Road, which is mostly residential.

Lowering taxes in the CBD is not a possibility. City taxes have already been eliminated city-wide, as I understand it. City taxes are levied, but are fully rebated via The Local option Sales Tax. Business licenses could be lowered though, which would be probably more beneficial.

Josh, you should go to the City and see if they have a copy of the old Downtown Master Plan developed by Wade Burns. It was a great plan, but never implemented. BTW, I visit Flotown about every 4-5 weeks, we should meet next time and compare notes. Just send a PM if you are interested.

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Facelifting the major boulevards of Florence would be a good start. Granite curbing, black truss street lights, black mast arm traffic signals, water fountains and landscaping is something i am sure the city could do. JUST PLEASE do not change the SCDOT guide signage to anything un-official, small, placed improperly and too cute looking. I dont mind a little black or brown border with the official guide signage to camaflauge the beautification process but please dont turn the signage into Disney World crap or WORSE yet, the National Park service!

An incentive of a .5% to 1% reduction in business taxes for the effort of spending more than XXXXX amount of dollars to improve their look along the revitalized highways should also be pursued. While most people are not going about their business in downtown, the city should aggressively pursue downtown as well to make it once again attractive so the entire city of Florence can prosper.

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A few quick points in response to the recent posts...

The city and county share the government complex and funding/goverance of the civic center. They use to co-own the airport, but it is run by a regional multi-county authority now.

The planning commision was restructured to cover the City and MOST of the county towns. A few choose not to be included, but one that did hold out (Pamplico), is now joining the combined department. A good sign, albeit a small one. The city and county Recreation departments have been merged as well. I think that is the lion-share of the city-county consolidations. An actual total political merger is out of the question. I think it could work in theory, but that is much too progress ive for the local mindset.

I agree that the mid-rise buildings mentioned should be more concentrated, rather than spread out all the way to Cherokee. Also, I would keep as much historic buildings as possible and reasonable. Florence has lost too much of that already.

As for Spartan's comments, he is right about the appearance of certain throughfares, especially Evans, but frankly most people heading to the beach just bypass Florence via I-95 and SC 327. It's more miles but less time. The most attractive cross-town route is Cherokee Road, which is mostly residential.

Lowering taxes in the CBD is not a possibility. City taxes have already been eliminated city-wide, as I understand it. City taxes are levied, but are fully rebated via The Local option Sales Tax. Business licenses could be lowered though, which would be probably more beneficial.

Josh, you should go to the City and see if they have a copy of the old Downtown Master Plan developed by Wade Burns. It was a great plan, but never implemented. BTW, I visit Flotown about every 4-5 weeks, we should meet next time and compare notes. Just send a PM if you are interested.

Its interesting that you say that about the airport given this quote from the recent I-73 article from the Morning News:

<"Phase one is primarily a study to see if there is a need for a regional international airport," DuBard said. "And phase two, if we find the need is there, to find out where it needs to be. Phase three will be to fund and build it.">

Granted it would probably be in Myrtle Beach, but if it is really going to serve the Pee Dee region economically, Florence seems the logical choise.

Well, beach traffic may indeed take the other way, but when I was down in Florence the traffic on McLeod and on Palmetto was horrible at most any time of the day (and it was a weekend). Maybe its mostly local traffic, but my point is that any visitor to the city would not be overly impressed. Infact, the hotel I stayed at had a small pamphlet about what to do in Florence, and while there was a section about downtown, most of the reccomendations were to go to the area around the mall (which has the most confusing parking lot on earth btw).

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^^ For the size city it is, McLeod Blvd. is indeed pretty crowded. But it is the one and only route for probably 70% or more of the urban area population to get to the only large commercial district.

Frankly, if it involves raising taxes significantly, the city council is not likely to approve any of these ideas. Funding would have to come from a TIF, The Bruce & Lee Foundation or Sen. Leatherman.

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It seems like every idea that anyone puts forth will be shot down by the council. Does anyone else see this pattern? The solution seems quite obvious to me....

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Ummmm, adopting a strong mayor form of government?

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Well... if council isnt coing to play, so be it.. then what needs to happen is first you get some backers to educate the public on these issues, and second.. if they dont want to play, then it might be time for a shift change...

A few comments on a commen statemnt on my suggestions... I wasnt clear about something so it lead to some confusion. When I mentioned building up irby/evans, i inadvertantly failed to mention that this is in conjuction/following the indensification of the CBD... sorry for the confustion on that one...

With respct to the historical buildings... I hate to disagree but florence doesnt realy have many truely historic buildings left. there are a lot of old buildings, but nothig i would consider historic. The stretch along dargon from palmetto to darlington st has a number of these very old buildings, but most are jsut that and only that. they could be redone to resemble a vibrant small town DT, but if thats the case, the CBD needs to be 'moved' somewhere else and allow this to be a side neighborhood. It could very nicely be done to look similar to 5 points in columbia, or something like San Marco in Jacksonville. Both are basicly side neighborhoods to DT. Im fine with that. But leaving these as part of the CBD wil hamper developement in the long run. Also, they are for the most part very run down. I understand the importance of keeping historical buildings, but there simply isnt much left that is truely historic. much of that was destroyed when they built mcleod. Whats left is simply old and run down...

Anyway, I agree with keeping history alive and wll, I realy do, i just think many people in positions of power think that because a building is old its historic.

Cheers

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Josh, it's that very thinking that lead to all the destruction. No one could see past the disrepair to see the potential. Some of the North Dargan buildings have been remuddled too much, but there is an old bank building on North Dargan that has a great fascade for instance.

As for McLeod, that was all residential. It was the city's urban renewal project of the late '70's that destroyed the urban fabric and the historic commercial buildings.

Go to the library and check out the pictorial history book of Florence that G. Wayne King did. You will see a good sampling of what was lost. You can't replicate the materials of an older builidng. It's too expensive (if it's even available) and it would be new, without the character that comes from aging.

DT Charleston and Greenville looked awful too, before extensive rehabbing was done.

I have never heard of a city "moving" it's CDB. You have to work with what is there.

I don't mean to be critical, I appreciate your enthusiasm, but I think you would benefit from hearing different perspectives.

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Its alright... critical is good... and your right.. need to lsiten to other opinions from time to time... I guess given that, i never realy had a problem with the buildings, the jsut didnt seem appropriate if the city ever wanted to really increase the density of the CBD. If they were properly renovated, im sure it would look great. I guess the real question then would be how would you incease the density of the CBD if the primary buildings are 1) typically low density buildings, and 2) effectivly in the middle of the current CBD.

cheers

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Selective destruction is ok. I would generally avoid massive destruction. Places are always cooler when they preserve what is there and work with the environment. Density can be achieved by filling in parking lots, and strategicly destroying old buildings. Historic buildings are important, but you should not ignore common sense. Like vic said, it is impossible to duplicate historic buildings, so don't tear something down unless you are sure.

Spartanburg has had a bad problem with razing historic buildings, and it has taken a lot away from the city.

Florence doesn't have any place that strikes me as a true "center" of town. So it would be concievable that Florence could start its redevelopment in a certain area and the expand the redevelopment process.

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