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  • Last modified 64 days ago (Sept. 12, 2019)

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High schooler kicks off effort to beautify Florence

Staff writer

Gracie Mackey, secretary of Marion High School’s FFA chapter is spearheading an effort to beautify Florence’s Main St. through the hard work of youthful volunteers.

The goal is to improve beautification and restoration along Main St. storefronts by washing windows and painting trim, she said.

“This is hopefully not a one and done,” Mackey said. “I’d like to have several other projects throughout the year. My FFA chapter is more than willing to help fund and have volunteers help with this.”

After receiving Florence City Council’s blessing Monday, Mackey next needs approval from business owners.

In addition to volunteers through the club, Mackey has access to FFA grants, and could ask for volunteers from her youth group at the First Christian Church in Florence.

The youth group might be using the community’s home-ec building on W. 7th St. as its new youth center, pending church board approval.

Youth group leader Hunter Spencer sought cooperation from the council to use the space in the future.

He opened a youth center at the church’s parsonage, but said it had limited space. He has also received a noise complaint from a neighbor.

“We have it set up well, but once you get 20 kids then there’s a lot less room,” he said.

Providing somewhere for high schoolers to hang out is vital within the community, councilman Trayce Warner said.

“I’ve driven by several of the nights you attended, and it looks well attended,” Trayce Warner said. “That’s awesome. It’s keeping them off the streets and giving them something positive to do.”

There was debate over what to do with the $300-plus utility bill that went unpaid when the church previously used the space. Warner and councilman Matt Williams suggested the bill be waived since different members were on the church board at the time.

“Maybe we just write the $300 off,” Williams said. “We already settled that. If it’s run accordingly, I’m in favor of that.”

If the church board approves the agreement, the building will be open 7 p.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays, and the church will be responsible for utilities and liability insurance.

After several weeks without a permanent city clerk, the council decided to expand applicant qualifications.

Applicants previously had to be registered voters living within Florence, but the changes made it so any registered voter in Marion County living within 15 miles of Florence would be qualified.

Last modified Sept. 12, 2019

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