FLORENCE — A proposed market place on South Irby Street is raising concern that it will bring improved site visitors and bring far more homeless individuals to the region.
The market— positioned at 711 S. Irby Street, exactly where Orangeland Seafood restaurant was formerly located— is created to boost the accessibility of fresh regional generate for individuals in Florence.
But opponents, seven of whom have spoken at public meetings, argue the home does not have adequate parking to accommodate clients, will boost congestion and give a space for individuals who are homeless to congregate, which will all negatively impact regional small business owners.
Rev. Leo Woodberry, executive director of the New Alpha Neighborhood Improvement Corp., which is behind the project, as nicely as the pastor at Kingdom Living Temple, which sits on the adjacent home, mentioned the issues are unfounded.
“I certainly never see any basis in truth or actuality about something that they are saying,” he mentioned.
The project is on hold right after Florence’s Design and style Assessment Board asked for far more details about the plans ahead of approving or denying the market’s application.
At an April board meeting, when the program was introduced, Woodberry mentioned the market place will have a equivalent style to the flea market place on East Palmetto Street.
There would be a semi-permanent structure, such as an open shed, and many short-term tents set up when the market place is in operation for the duration of typical small business hours Friday by means of Sunday 26 weeks of the year. Woodberry mentioned indigenous plants will beautify the home.
Outdoors of these plans, Woodberry mentioned the organization is prepared to operate with the city to comply with the style recommendations for the Irby Street corridor, one particular of the places the city has focused redevelopment efforts.
The market place is portion of the New Alpha Neighborhood Improvement Corp.’s broader operate to market environmental justice, Woodberry mentioned in an interview. The market place would be an chance for tiny, regional farmers to sell their generate, and a supply for regional, fresh generate for Florence residents. There would also be coaching possibilities obtainable to teach individuals how to use the meals that is obtainable.
In addition to meals, the market place also will sell name brand clothes and household items.
Parking was a major concern for a quantity of individuals who spoke against the project. On-street parking is not obtainable in the region, and small business owners mentioned they didn’t want overflow site visitors to park in their lots.
Cherie Springs, who owns Bazen’s restaurant across the street, mentioned Kingdom Living Temple’s events sometimes overflow currently and that guests have ended up employing Bazen’s parking lot in the previous. That is not anything that she desires to occur consistently, she mentioned.
The improvement corporation estimates the market place will have a peak occupancy of 45 individuals, but opponents mentioned they feel several far more will come. Design and style Assessment Board members also questioned the methodology the corporation utilised, saying they have to have to program for the possibility that occupancy will exceed 45.
At an occupancy of 45, the city would call for the market place to have 20 parking spaces, which are incorporated in the website program.
Woodberry also mentioned Kingdom Living Temple would be in a position to give further parking spaces as necessary.
Woodberry mentioned parking issues are overblown and the market place would be in a position to give an suitable quantity of parking spaces.
He pointed out the prior occupant of the home was a seafood restaurant and mentioned he does not feel congestion will be any far more of a dilemma than it was then.
“I can not fathom why individuals would feel that there would be a dilemma of congestion, either with autos or with individuals,” he mentioned.
Opponents also mentioned they’re worried the market place will give a location for individuals who are homeless to collect. That would negatively impact their corporations, they mentioned.
Springs mentioned there are currently a quantity of individuals who are homeless in the region and that the market place, when it is not in operation, would encourage their presence.
“We have a incredibly massive quantity of homeless individuals in the region. We give them cost-free meals. We’re satisfied to feed them. But I cannot have them hanging out and asking my clients for funds,” she mentioned in an interview.
Woodberry mentioned homelessness currently exists in the region and that he does not feel the market place will exacerbate the dilemma.
Due in massive portion to issues of congestion and homelessness, opponents also mentioned they think the market place will turn into an eyesore.
“My understanding is this redevelopment of Irby Street was to boost Irby Street and enhance it. I feel this is in direct conflict to that. I never feel that is an improvement of Irby Street,” mentioned Dewey Powers, who owns the State Farm workplace subsequent to the home.
Powers spoke at the April Design and style Assessment Board meeting.
Powers declined to answer concerns from The Post and Courier.
A number of individuals referenced the flea market place on East Palmetto Street – which they mentioned was rundown and filled with trash – and they didn’t want anything like that in their neighborhood.
But Woodberry compared the market place to the City Center Marketplace downtown and mentioned he thinks it will enhance the excellent of life in the region.
“This is the sort of issue that you want to have so that individuals are attracted to your city,” he mentioned.
Members of the Design and style Assessment Board mentioned the plans they received had been also preliminary for them to make an informed choice. They advised at the April meeting, and Woodberry agreed, to defer approving the project till they could collect far more details.
Assistant City Manager Clint Moore mentioned the city has not received any far more details from New Alpha Improvement.