Florence residents, employees look forward to downtown parking garage

Florence residents and business owners look forward to downtown parking garage construction (Image 1)

Plans are in the works to construct two parking garages in downtown Florence.

City officials plan to use about $6 million in TIF (Tax Increment Financing) funds to build the structures.

That TIF money will come directly from increased property tax revenues provided by downtown business and building owners.

One garage would be constructed in an area behind the site of the City-County Complex building on Irby St., and another would be constructed near the future site of the Florence Museum on Dargan St.

Those supporting the plan say the structures are needed to not only accommodate the current crowds in the area, but also to handle the expected increase in crowds that will come as the revitalization process continues.

Downtown business owner Kate Walker only opened her boutique on Evans Street in December, but says that even in the short amount of time her business has been open, she has already seen the potential impact a lack of parking could have on long-term business plans.

“As we add more opportunities for folks to come in and enjoy the downtown area, we need for them to feel like they have a place to get very quickly across the street to whatever business they're trying to get into,” Walker said.

Many Florence residents who frequent the downtown area say they too anticipate that it will continue to grow and say that there needs to be enough parking in place to handle potential crowds.

“The only thing that's standing in the way right now is parking. The infrastructure's going in the right direction, the attitude is amazing, it looks like the funding has finally arrived and we need to take care of some basics, and parking is number one,” said Florence resident Jim Gleason.

“The streets won't be as crowded, and when they will be crowded it will be with people who will be milling about and pedestrians walking…a lot of these businesses seem to be filled to the brim with people so I imagine more parking would definitely help them out a lot,” said Florence Resident Wickham Flannagan.

“So much has grown in such a short period of time. There are a multitude of changes, but we have so much potential in the area and there's so many folks that want it there,” Walker added.

City officials will likely take up the next step in the parking garage plan in March.

Count on News13 to keep you covered on its progress.

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