May 30, 2023 7:27 am

FLORENCE — A proposed marketplace on South Irby Street is raising concern that it will bring enhanced visitors and bring extra homeless people today to the location.

The market— situated at 711 S. Irby Street, exactly where Orangeland Seafood restaurant was formerly located— is created to raise the accessibility of fresh regional create for people today in Florence.

But opponents, seven of whom have spoken at public meetings, argue the house does not have sufficient parking to accommodate prospects, will raise congestion and deliver a space for people today who are homeless to congregate, which will all negatively have an effect on regional company owners.

Rev. Leo Woodberry, executive director of the New Alpha Neighborhood Improvement Corp., which is behind the project, as properly as the pastor at Kingdom Living Temple, which sits on the adjacent house, mentioned the issues are unfounded.

“I definitely do not see any basis in truth or actuality about something that they are saying,” he mentioned.

The project is on hold following Florence’s Design and style Assessment Board asked for extra info about the plans prior to approving or denying the market’s application.

At an April board meeting, when the program was introduced, Woodberry mentioned the marketplace will have a equivalent style to the flea marketplace on East Palmetto Street.

There would be a semi-permanent structure, such as an open shed, and various short-term tents set up when the marketplace is in operation throughout typical company hours Friday via Sunday 26 weeks of the year. Woodberry mentioned indigenous plants will beautify the house.

Outdoors of these plans, Woodberry mentioned the organization is prepared to function with the city to comply with the style recommendations for the Irby Street corridor, one particular of the areas the city has focused redevelopment efforts.

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The marketplace is component of the New Alpha Neighborhood Improvement Corp.’s broader function to market environmental justice, Woodberry mentioned in an interview. The marketplace would be an chance for little, regional farmers to sell their create, and a supply for regional, fresh create for Florence residents. There would also be instruction possibilities offered to teach people today how to use the meals that is offered.

In addition to meals, the marketplace also will sell name brand clothes and household solutions.

Parking was a major concern for a quantity of people today who spoke against the project. On-street parking is not offered in the location, and company owners mentioned they didn’t want overflow 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 working with Bazen’s parking lot in the previous. That is not some thing that she desires to take place consistently, she mentioned.

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The improvement corporation estimates the marketplace will have a peak occupancy of 45 people today, but opponents mentioned they believe quite a few extra will come. Design and style Assessment Board members also questioned the methodology the corporation applied, saying they need to have to program for the possibility that occupancy will exceed 45.

At an occupancy of 45, the city would call for the marketplace to have 20 parking spaces, which are incorporated in the web site program.

Woodberry also mentioned Kingdom Living Temple would be in a position to deliver added parking spaces as necessary.

Woodberry mentioned parking issues are overblown and the marketplace would be in a position to deliver an acceptable quantity of parking spaces.

He pointed out the prior occupant of the house was a seafood restaurant and mentioned he does not believe congestion will be any extra of a trouble than it was then.

“I can not fathom why people today would believe that there would be a trouble of congestion, either with automobiles or with people today,” he mentioned.

Opponents also mentioned they’re worried the marketplace will deliver a spot for people today who are homeless to collect. That would negatively have an effect on their organizations, they mentioned.

Springs mentioned there are currently a quantity of people today who are homeless in the location and that the marketplace, when it is not in operation, would encourage their presence.

“We have a quite significant quantity of homeless people today in the location. We present them totally free meals. We’re satisfied to feed them. But I cannot have them hanging out and asking my prospects for cash,” she mentioned in an interview.

Woodberry mentioned homelessness currently exists in the location and that he does not believe the marketplace will exacerbate the trouble.

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Due in significant component to issues of congestion and homelessness, opponents also mentioned they think the marketplace will grow to be an eyesore.

“My understanding is this redevelopment of Irby Street was to boost Irby Street and increase it. I believe this is in direct conflict to that. I do not believe that is an improvement of Irby Street,” mentioned Dewey Powers, who owns the State Farm workplace subsequent to the house.

Powers spoke at the April Design and style Assessment Board meeting.

Powers declined to answer inquiries from The Post and Courier.

Many people today referenced the flea marketplace on East Palmetto Street – which they mentioned was rundown and filled with trash – and they didn’t want some thing like that in their neighborhood.

But Woodberry compared the marketplace to the City Center Industry downtown and mentioned he thinks it will increase the excellent of life in the location.

“This is the type of point that you want to have so that people today are attracted to your city,” he mentioned.

Members of the Design and style Assessment Board mentioned the plans they received have been as well preliminary for them to make an informed selection. They advised at the April meeting, and Woodberry agreed, to defer approving the project till they could collect extra info.

Assistant City Manager Clint Moore mentioned the city has not received any extra info from New Alpha Improvement.