Florence City creates nonprofit to fund $15M bond for parks and rec

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – The City of Florence is on the fast track to fix up parks and recreational buildings.

Monday was the first ‘Public Facilities Corporation’ meeting to finalize the issuance of a $15 million dollar bond.

The ‘Public Facilities Corporation’ is made up of three senior city staff members; City Manager Drew Griffin, Finance Director Thomas Chandler, and Public Works Director Charles Pope. The group approved a resolution to issue a $15 million dollar bond for park and recreation projects.

“We have not been able to spend to a lot of money because of the recession now we can fast-track some of that capital needs and some improvements to build parks we’ve had to defer,” said Florence City ManagerDrew Griffin.

The group will repay the bond with local options sales tax dollars, which will not increase taxes

“Previously the taxes that were used were applied to a different purpose. That purpose has now been accomplished thereby freeing up that income stream which will be used to pay back the $15m,” said Charlton deSaussure the Florence City Bond Attorney from the Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd firm.

Monday afternoon Florence city council approved the second and final reading of the corporation to borrow from BB&T for up to 15 years with a 2.99 interest rate.

“Setting up a corporation and having them issue that debt even though ultimately the city of Florence is responsible for the corporation’s service of that debt eliminates some of the legal complications,” said Florence City Mayor Stephen Wukela.

The project includes:

  • Build two new community centers at Iola jones and Maple park
  • Create trail connections
  • Land purchase
  • Improve park buildings, fields, and courts that were delayed over the years

The next step is sending out proposals for specialty recreation contractors for the community centers and upgrades.