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Florence Developments

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The mayor of Florence, Frank Willis lost his bid for re-electon yesterday by 1 vote. There are challenged ballots, and there will be a recount obviously. Turnout was very low. Just goes to show you that every vote counts.

The apparent (for the moment) winner, Steve Wukela is a political novice.

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I was in Florence today. The public library dowtown is gorgeous. So is Central United Methodist Church (not sure if that's the whole name), and the courthouse or city hall or something on the main retail street. Downtown has a lot of potential. There are many empty storefronts, but at least there are no boarded up windows, or at least none that I saw.

Edited by CorgiMatt

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I was in Florence today. The public library dowtown is gorgeous. So is Central United Methodist Church (not sure if that's the whole name), and the courthouse or city hall or something on the main retail street.

I think you're talking about the old post office. Here it is in the early 20th century:

723.jpg

I agree, it is a beautiful building.

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Big news. The Commerce Park has certainly proven to be a valuable investment. First QVC, then Heinz (350 jobs announced a month ago) and now Monster with 750 jobs.

I hope the pay will be good.

Might be time to consider how the traffic will be impacted from all this, before it starts to be a problem.

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Might be time to consider how the traffic will be impacted from all this, before it starts to be a problem.

SCDOT requires traffic studies for industrial parks of this size. They way I've usually seen it work, DOT will allow as much square footage to be built as a traffic study for the current roads allow. Additional square footage will not be allowed until the require roadway improvements are implemented (i.e widening, new interchanges, etc.).

I'm not saying there's not some political pressure put on DOT to hurry up and allow this, but DOT usually really tries to enforce their regs.

This is great news for Florence.

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Wukela seemed to have pandered to certain demographic groups. His claims are that downtown redevelopment only focuses on the south side of downtown and they should have projects on the north side as well. Coincidentally, his family's law firm is on the south side of town. Maybe he could move the firm to help spur growth up there.

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the majority of the voters did not support him but the primaries republican/democrat split the vote up b/c the majority of the republican voters would have voted for willis. i want to see real change on that side of town in wukela's administration, which is what he primarily ran on.

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Incumbent Mayor Frank Willis has exhausted his appeal process. The State Supreme Court refused to hear the case. As such, he will concede the Democratic nomination to Steve Wukela, a 32 year old with no prior political experience (except a a losing primary challenge to Senator Hugh Leatherman) by ONE vote.

There is no Republican candidate in the race and it is too late for one to join. HOWEVER, former Mayor Joe W. "Rocky" Pearce has filed sufficient signatures to run as an independent. Pearce served from '83 to '91. He won a landslide for his first term against incumbent C. Cooper Tedder, but nearly lost to Tedder for his second term. He did not run for a third term.

Pearce was controversial, but IMO was progressive, in that he pushed the Civic Center and the Freedom Florence recreation project to completion despite controversy over the costs.

This race has the potential to get REAL interesting.

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I haven't been here in a while. I thought I'd post some recent pics from around Florence.

Here's an artists rendering of a "potential" future Dargan Street Corridor

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Here's a pan of that corridor today

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The Florence Downtown Development Corporation is trying to transfer buildings along this strip to the corporation, including 117, 119 and 129 (old Carolina Theatre). It already owns the old Royal Knight building on the corner. Good to see some progress is being made. The pic and info courtesy of the News Journal.

The eyesore House of Louie, at the corner of Palmetto & Irby, was torn down in May. No plans for the site as yet. This particular photo downplays the busy intersection it really is.

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The intersection of Palmetto & Coit. The historic old gas station, which was most recently a restaurant, was the victim of arson in the spring, and has not reopened. The threat of arson is one of many reasons businesses have been reluctant to locate downtown. The historic Hamilton House on Dargan, which was partially burned down last year, IS being restored.

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The abandoned, decrepit Heritage, motel was finally demolished in July. Good riddance.

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Here's the motel where it bordered Coit St

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The Little Theatre is almost completed, and looks great. The first production will be "Jesus Christ Superstar".

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Cheves & McQueen

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The Village at Coit low rent housing development is coming along

From Darlington Street, looking west

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Looking east

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Looking north

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Coit Street, looking south. Still not the most desirable part of town. There's a run down Sav-Way across Coit

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....and the infamous Hubcap Shack on the corner across the street. Rumor is they're selling more than hubcaps

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Development on Beltline Drive across from West Florence. The controversial Super Wal-Mart, which was delayed due to lawsuits, is almost completed.

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Oh no! They tore down the House of Louie? That was one of my favorite places to eat when I was so poor but still wanted good Chinese. It was an eyesore, though, and on such a prominent corner, it had to go I guess . . . hope Florence's Downtown Association will succeed in transforming downtown. It's such a ghost town today, and could/should be so much more.

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I'm not a fan of the exterior based on the look and feel that is conveyed through the interior shots. There's a loss in the translation between the two, IMO.

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I really don't care for the exterior at all; what's with monolithic stone surrounding the central glass lobby? I can't really say that I'm a fan of the interior of the actual theater either. The lobby interior looks nice, though.

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I like the lobby, hard to judge the auditorium, but I like the multi-leveled galleries. The exterior is odd, almost ugly. I guess it depends on what type of stone is used.

In the lobby pic, it looks like Tiger Woods has come to see a show. :)

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The theater's interior looks distracting. Will people be looking at the performance or their surroundings? I hope some reiterations will occur and correct some of the aspects that we are critical of...

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