FLORENCE — One phase of the Tennessee Street streetscape is completed and another is beginning, but there is one small area of the street that is not included.

However, city officials said the blighted appearance in that pocket of buildings is about to change.

A small row of abandoned buildings and a former car wash are in the eastern area of Tennessee Street, shortly before the street curves and becomes Florence Boulevard.

District 2 City Councilman Dick Jordan, whose district includes that area, said two structures are set for demolition.

One is a former check-cashing building and another is the car wash.

"It's on our blight-removal program," Jordan said.

He added that private developers are eyeing that section with plans to refurbish it.

"That will be a big improvement," Jordan said.

Mayor Steve Holt said the buildings are at a prime location. He said it also is a frequently traveled and highly visible spot.

"There's a lot of potential," Holt said. "It's beautiful property. It's got Mobile street on the north side and Tennessee on the south side, and every block is traffic-light controlled. I wouldn't be surprised to see that develop."

He added a portion of Mobile Street near that area is one way for traffic, but city officials have discussed making it two-way traffic, except in the residential area.

The streetscape projects on Court and Tennessee streets were done in hopes of attracting businesses and that appears to be paying off, Holt said. The next phase will stretch eastward along Tennessee and College streets to Dr. Hicks Boulevard, and include Cherry and Poplar streets.

That $2,885,824 project by Joe Keenum Excavation and Construction Inc. was approved in July. It calls for 300 working days.

"One thing we saw through the Tennessee Street streetscape is how College Street has developed, and I wouldn't be surprised to see that happen to Mobile Street," Holt said. "Those are things we'll look at. We've seen the return on investment of doing the streetscapes."

bernie.delinski@timesdaily.com or 256-740-5739. Twitter @TD_BDelinski

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