Florence officials and residents see city by bus for listening tour

Pee Dee

FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — City of Florence officials and residents went on bus rides around town for a listening tour Thursday.

Lethonia Barnes, the city council member who serves as the chair of the community redevelopment committee, said the event was held to get input on residents about problems that need fixing. Even though some issues discussed were outside the city’s control, she said officials wanted residents to feel heard.

“We’ve got to find ways to address these issues and it comes from the community informing us and letting us know some of these things,” Barnes said. “That’s the idea. Let’s hear from you then let’s make a plan and get to work together.”

Attendees loaded up in a bus and went on resident-guided tours of different parts of the city. One key topic discussed was crime prevention.

“Everyone sitting on their porches on Pine Street knows who passes, but they’re not going to tell the city or the police because of retribution,” said Nat Mitchell, who lives in Florence.

Mitchell wants to see more police in his neighborhood.

Residents also expressed concerns about gang activity, as well as abandoned or dilapidated houses.

“Repair it, fix it, because I’d like to be able to tell my grands how much history belongs to that store, that house,” said Dannielle Davis, the president of Concerned Citizens of North Florence. “We need help bringing our community back to a historical place where everybody wants to live and feel safe.”

The listening tour consisted of four trips around different parts of the city.

“Some of the issues that we have now, we’ve had for years,” said Pat Gibson-Hymoore, a member of the city council. “Hopefully we can get our residents some of the things that they’re asking for.”

Council members said now that problems have been brought up to them, they can begin planning solutions. Residents are encouraged to get in touch or attend city council meetings to address other issues.

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