FLORENCE, S.C. -- The pace of growth and development in the city of Florence continued throughout 2018 and shows no signs of slowing in 2019.

Downtown, the new Hyatt Place hotel and Carolina Bank, among other restaurants and stores, have recently opened with great success.

A new grocery store, the product of a cooperative effort between the city, the Housing Authority and a private grocer, is under construction on North Dargan Street, and an interactive water feature is nearing completion in the 100 block of South Dargan Street.

In light of the success of the Emerson and Kress apartment developments, several additional residential properties are under construction downtown, with more expected soon. To that end, the city has purchased nearly all of the parcels that make up the 300 block of West Evans Street and has sought bids for the demolition of the Florentine building to make way for development on that block.

The city continues work on its parks and recreation system, supported by a $15 million bond issue authorized recently by the Florence City Council, along with various grants and donations. New community centers are under design at Iola Jones and Maple parks. A new baseball complex and track facilities are also planned just Northeast of the current tennis complex, on land donated by Dr. Eddie Floyd, as was the land for the tennis complex itself.

Furthermore, as with the tennis complex, the Drs. Bruce & Lee Foundation recently donated more than $2.4 million for the construction of a field house at the new soccer complex. The soccer complex has been a fantastic success. It was, of course, also the product of a donation of land and more than $6.5 million from the Drs. Bruce & Lee Foundation.

The city recently opened a new all-inclusive playground at the Barnes Street campus, and it plans more than $2.5 million in various other improvements to parks throughout the city.

Finally, the city’s neighborhood redevelopment program gained speed in 2018 with more than 58 lots purchased, four homes constructed and sold using private bank financing, 10 more homes in the planning or construction phase and more on the way. This accompanies street improvements on Vista and Sumter streets, and more are about to begin on Pine Street.

In sum, the tempo of activity in the city of Florence continues.

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