Florence county, city leaders in dispute over parking problems

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – As Downtown Florence grow so does the need for more parking.

Downtown Development Manager Ray Reich says 360 available parking spaces are available after the opening of the new Emerson Apartments.

Reich says there is a need for an additional parking garage in Downtown Florence; it’s just a matter of where to build it.

“My guess is over the next five years they’ll be several additional parking garages built because the growth is going to mandate it,” said Reich.

Florence County Councilman James Schofield tells News 13 in a September interview that another garage should be built next to the county complex.

The city, however, says its research shows that area won’t need more spaces for a few years.

Business owners along West Evans Street say the sooner the better

“About 15 minutes it took me to find a park and I actually ended up parking in the back. I couldn’t even find a park out here in the front,” said Ella’s Boutique owner Ella Frazier

“I don’t think it’s going to be enough to house all of the customers that come through Evans Street,” said Consider the Lillie’s owner Andrew Osbourne.

Business owners say finding a parking spot can be a hassle for them and their customers.

“I have my elderly customers who can’t find a park so even the parking garage is a little of a distance for them,” mentioned Frazier.

“Most of them are just annoyed, they can’t find a place to park and they have to park such a long distance,” said Osbourne.

City and county leaders say they are discussing where a second parking garage will be best fit.

“We haven’t absolutely said we have no interest in it. It’s just looking like based on the study that we did that may not be where it’ll be best served for the people for us to put a second deck that we will pay for,” explained Reich.

City officials have not suggested a location for another parking garage in Downtown Florence.