FLORENCE, Ala. – The city of Florence is putting your tax dollars to work. Earlier this month, a one-cent sales tax increase went into effect and improvement projects put on the back-burner for years are now underway. Veterans Park will be the first to get some much-needed attention.
For more than ten years, the park has sat all but vacant. It was supposed to be part of a larger project which brought a championship golf course and luxury hotel to the Shoals. Leaders never found an agreeable attraction to place here.
“When the project did not come, we wound up with the park again,” explained Community Services Director Todd Nix. “So, we were waiting in limbo at that time. Now that we know we are going to keep the park; it’s our responsibility.”
Revenue from a sales tax increase is giving the city the opportunity to bring back the luster of Veterans Park.
“Our athletic programs have grown tremendously and the fields are of great importance,” said Nix. “So, our young people will use them as well as our adult leagues, and then on weekends we will be able to host more day tournaments than we do now.”
Nix also said the shelters and bathrooms will see upgrades in this round of improvements. The revitalization of Veterans Park is only a small part of a bigger picture which will see improvements to many public facilities across the city.
“With this new sales tax that we are tremendously grateful for, we will be able to maintain at a higher standard then we have,” Nix stated. “So, hopefully in the fall we can come back and hit the rec centers and upgrade them.”
Community Services has about 20 items on their wish list, totaling around $800,000; projects that will be performed in stages. This first round makes up about 25% of the total.
City leaders in Florence have said the sales tax increase will generate an additional $9.5 million for the general fund. $8 million of that will be used for infrastructure improvements, with the additional revenue used to give first responders a pay raise.