ScienceSouth closed its doors this summer. Now the building might be turned into a children's museum.

FLORENCE, S.C. – A children’s museum might be coming to Florence.

On Monday afternoon, the Florence City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance amending the city’s general fund budget to add $3.45 million of expenditures not on the budget. Among the listed expenditures to be added are equipment and supplies for a children’s museum to be located at the former ScienceSouth.

ScienceSouth announced it was closing effective June 30 – it did have a final event on July 13 – after a decision was made by its board in March. The board cited that funding for STEM education is becoming harder to obtain and schools have more access to STEM education.

Property tax records indicate the ScienceSouth facility is owned by the city and do not show any transactions indicating a recent sale.

This could indicate the city has been leasing the land to ScienceSouth.

The property is adjacent to the Freedom Florence recreation complex on Freedom Boulevard.

The ordinance also adds the acquisition of 20 more police vehicles to go with the 10 additional new vehicles already in the budget, for neighborhood redevelopment, the acquisition of equipment and supplies for the new Farmer’s Market, the acquisition of a William H. Johnson sculpture to be placed at the East Evans Street breezeway entrance, a one-time donation to the Naomi Project for facility repairs, the acquisition of two properties on Coit Street and repairs, renovations, and improvements to the Timrod Park Museum facility.

The council unanimously approved the ordinance upon first reading. It is expected to be before the council for a second and final reading in September.

In other business Monday, the council:

  • Heard a report from Sonyetta Cooper of the Mayor’s Coalition on the No One Unsheltered project.
  • Recognized athletes and coaches from several of the city’s recreation league teams.
  • Approved upon second reading ordinances annexing and zoning property along West Palmetto Street owned by Lions Investment Group and the transfer of road right-of-way to the South Carolina Department of Transportation.
  • Deferred an ordinance annexing and zoning property located at Howe Springs Road and Canal Drive.
  • Approved upon first reading an ordinance prohibiting busses and trucks along portions of Third Loop Road, a bill approving the refinancing of bonds at a lower interest rate and the issuance of more bonds to facilitate an automated meter reading system, and a bill authorizing the conveyance of unspecified property.
  • Approved two resolutions: one for redevelopment grants in the downtown area and one authorizing City Manager Drew Griffin to enter into an agreement with Florence County for building code administration for city property in the county and county property in the city.

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