Florence City Council address concerns with traffic along Ansley Street, Farmers Market discrimination

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – People from the Ansley Community Development group met at the Florence City Center to ask leaders to hear their concerns during the Florence City Council meeting.

Some people that live along Ansley Street asked the council to dead end the road after learning an apartment complex will be built on Attwood Ave.

The group says hundreds of cars cut through their area to get to Irby Street.

Another group of people that live and work in the area asked the council to avoid making the road a dead end.

Mike Wightman, the YMCA Operations director says if the road is cut off it is a safety concern for children at the YMCA because traffic will come near the sports complex.

“We know it’s going to go up tremendously.  A lot of them are traveling at speeds they don’t need to be traveling,” explained Wightman. “We would have at any given time three to four hundred kids out there participating in youth sports not to mention our after-school care and summer day camps.”

Mayor Stephen Wukela says the proposal from the Ansley group is difficult because:

  1. Ansley Street is not wide enough for cul-de-sac (will not meet fire truck u-turn rules)
  2. Traffic will shift to other roads Example: near the YMCA
  3. Cost

Wukela says council may not be able to move forward with the proposal. Council will look into the legal requirements.

Councilman Glen Willis says he lives in the area. He asked the City Manager to study the area and reduce the speed.

Also, during the council meeting, a Florence woman believes the Florence City Farmers Market discriminates against local vendors.

Katherine Barnett owner of Southern Fields Soap company says she was denied a booth in the summer and fall of 2017.

A new policy says for every 20 vendors no two vendors can sell the same item. She believes vendors from other counties are favored.

Barnett asked Florence City Council to:

  1. Allow Florence county vendors booth applications first
  2. Create a jury panel to decide on what vendors are allowed to sell

“To be quite honest, they have five markets in Horry, Georgetown as well as in Myrtle Beach. We only have one,” said Katherine Barnett. “If we are not allowed in the Florence Market that displaces us by sending us to either Myrtle Beach, or we have to drive to Camden or ever further Columbia.”

Wukela says the goal of the farmers market is to address food dessert and represent local vendors.

Council will review her proposal and make a decision to keep the policy or change it.