City and business leaders evaluate entertainment district in downtown Florence

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – With change comes great fear in many cases, and that saying is holding true with talks of creating an entertainment district in downtown Florence.

It’s heralded as one of the best kept downtown areas in the South.  Millions of dollars have been invested to make it viable over the years.

This is why when talks began about creating an entertainment district, Florence city leaders and business owners decided not to rush things.

“We want it to be a win for everybody. Retail, restaurants, we are getting some lofts built in our downtown. Residences are on the rise, so it has to work for everybody,” explained Ray Grissom, president of Downtown Florence Unlimited.

Grissom said many of those he represents are in favor of the entertainment district.  He said they have been speaking with other cities in the state who have made the declaration, the closest being downtown Huntsville.

City Council President and District 2 representative Dick Jordan said he has heard very few negative comments about creating an entertainment district during their discussions with other groups.

“There are a lot of family affairs with the entertainment district. So they have answered a lot of concerns I think that people were unsure of,” said Jordan.

Both Grissom and Jordan have said the whole goal of forming an entertainment district is getting more feet on the sidewalks.

The Florence City Council has formed a committee of council members and Downtown Florence Unlimited members to study the pros and cons of an entertainment district.  City councilmen say they could give this a trial run by the end of the year.

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