FLORENCE — City Parks and Recreation Department projects continue to come to fruition with additional tennis court upgrades ongoing, a military-themed playground taking shape at Veterans Park, and roof work slated to start on Deibert Park facilities.

Florence City Community Services Director Todd Nix said the 1-cent sales tax increase the City Council passed this year is going a long way toward allowing many long-desired projects to happen in a timely manner.

The tax raised total sales tax in Florence to 9.5 percent with 3.5 percent going to the city, officials said.

"Nobody likes taxes, but this new sales tax has changed the quality of life in the city of Florence," Nix said. "We're able to repair things we hadn't been able to, and upgrade things we hadn't been able to. This money is benefiting the people."

Some $280,000 has gone toward Veterans Park projects, which include work on tennis courts, fencing, restroom repairs, the playground, shelters, lighting and the baseball field, as well as clearing work to provide a better access to and view of the river.

"The playground has a military theme, which we thought was fitting since the park is named for veterans," Nix said. That work is nearing completion between Shelters 4 and 5.

Veterans Park and Cox Creek Park tennis court upgrades are completed, and work is underway on the Royal Avenue courts.

The tennis court projects at all the facilities are included in a $171,500 contract approved earlier this year with Lower Brothers Co.

The council this month approved a $26,530 contract with Champion Roofing to replace the roof at the Deibert Park restroom, and a $27,421 contract with WPI General Contractors to do the same to the park's barn and office.

Both projects call for completion within 30 working days.

"We hope the work starts next week," Nix said.

The park projects are a portion of nearly $800,000 in improvements planned for various facilities throughout the city.

Projects next year include upgrading Martin Park, Nix said.

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

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