Florence mayor optimistic for 2016’s outlook

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – The city of Florence has seen some rocky times the past couple of years with job losses, but leaders are optimistic there’s a turnaround happening.

By all accounts, Florence City leaders are calling 2015 a banner year. They say, not only was revenue up, but spending by city departments was down.

Even though one of his principal tasks is keeping the city in the black, Mayor Mickey Haddock said his priority remains in job recruitment.

“If we can continue to tell our story about our area and what we have to offer to those who are looking to locate a manufacturing company, retail sales company, whatever it may be to here we can create jobs,” Haddock explained.

The city has been working through a $20-million capital improvements project for the last couple of years. To date, a few of the smaller projects have been completed.

Haddock said residents should be able to see the Indian mound, animal shelter and downtown streetscape projects well underway, if not completed, in ’16.

“It’s one of those things that you just have to go through the process. And as you go through the process there’s a lot of questions and you have to answer those questions,” stated Haddock. “But hopefully we’ve got them all answered and in 2016 we’ll see the fruits of that labor.”

Haddock says Florence is blessed to have several public entities which strive for excellence. Adding their determination is contagious, and helps push everyone towards a prosperous new year.

“We have great k-12 opportunities for our children, and then you have a major university doing great things in your own backyard. Our healthcare is stepping forward. There are so many bright things that are out there for ’16, I think we can just push forward,” said Haddock.

And with the stepping stones from previous years laid, Haddock said he looks forward to 2016 and what it has to offer for Shoals residents.

Mayor Haddock said in the last six weeks of 2015, economic development recruiters for the Shoals have spoken to more than 40 businesses looking at sites across the country. He added there are six manufacturers seriously looking at the Shoals at this time.