Historic downtown Florence vulnerable to fire

The historic Florence General Store, a favorite of locals and visitors for many decades, was destroyed by fire in 2011./Drawing courtesy of Don Bearwood
The historic Florence General Store, a favorite of locals and visitors for many decades, was destroyed by fire in 2011./Drawing courtesy of Don Bearwood

Town Council told that current rate of fires could level it

By Mark Cowling | Florence Reminder

If the historic downtown keeps losing buildings to fire at the rate it has for the last two decades, the neighborhood could be gone in 50 years, Fire Chief David Strayer and Town Manager Brent Billingsley reported to the Town Council.

In a bid to counter this trend, the council voted to invest the town’s next Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) in water infrastructure improvements that would cut the cost of installing sprinklers by one-third in downtown buildings. In the recent past, the town has used its CDBG grant to rehabilitate owner-occupied housing for income-qualified Florence residents.

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