FLORENCE, S.C. — Florence City Manager Drew Griffin stood in the corner of a plaza on South Dargan Street that was named after him and took stock of the city’s revitalization efforts.
Speaking at the dedication of the plaza, Griffin credited the councils he has worked with, his staff, his friends and his peers. Those groups, he said before pausing for a moment, have performed great deeds in their efforts to rebuild the downtown area.
A resident of the downtown area, Griffin walks his dog at night and gets to see the results of the city’s efforts firsthand.
“When you are downtown and other places, you see the joy that comes upon people’s faces, the expressions,” Griffin said before he paused for a moment. “How they interact.”
Those expressions illustrate the change in the culture around the city’s downtown.
“Where I am certainly very proud of downtown, I believe that this community should be equally proud with the work that we’re doing in neighborhoods,” Griffin said.
That work, Griffin continued, meant redefining neighborhoods that have been historically neglected.
“That is as critical as anything that we do as a community,” Griffin said.
He also said he is pleased with the city council’s decision to invest $15 million to $18 million into parks and recreation projects that will result in an investment in each city park of at least $300,000.
Those community spaces, he said, were important to what the city does, because they connect streets to neighborhoods, neighborhoods to the community and the community connects to itself.
“I pray that we will be able to continue to achieve,” Griffin said. “I thank everybody: the [Drs.] Bruce & Lee Foundation, city council, my friends, this community, certainly my wife, my parents.”
When he started working in public service, Griffin received some advice from another government employee: If you make decisions in the interest of the community, then you will always be OK.
Griffin shared that piece of advice as he spoke at the dedication of the Andrew H. Griffin Plaza.
“I have been very blessed to follow those words of wisdom,” Griffin said.
The dedication ceremony also featured a performance by the South Florence Choraliers, directed by Dr. Erick Figueras.
The city-built plaza and the splash pad inside it give parents the ability to take their children downtown for lunch and then have the children play in the fountain or for parents to visit the Florence County Museum and then take their children to play at the fountain. The pad was named after Griffin at the May meeting of the city council.