FLORENCE — Work started Tuesday on the next downtown streetscape phase, which will involve the eastern sections of Tennessee Street and move onto other streets in that area.

The project will cost a little over $3 million and take 18 months to complete, city officials said.

Downtown Florence Alliance Director Stephanie Vess said she has visited with businesses along the path and received positive feedback on completed and anticipated streetscape projects.

"Everybody's very excited about the streetscape and what it will do for the downtown businesses," Vess said.

Mayor Steve Holt said sections of South Cherry and South Poplar streets off Tennessee also are involved, as is the East College Street stretch between Cherry and Poplar.

"They'll have two blocks to be finished down Tennessee Street and then they'll go down south to Cherry, then down to College and west from College to Poplar," Holt said.

The project comes on the heels of the completion of the initial streetscaping project for Tennessee Street coming off Court Street up to Poplar Street. The projects all are designed to tie into each other, including the Court Street streetscaping.

"It'll certainly increase some traffic flow issues, but it is great to see it get going. We have seen clearly what the streetscapes on Court Street and Tennessee State have done so far for business and development growth," Holt said.

"One thing we didn't anticipate was how College Street has already started developing because of what we did on Tennessee Street. This will enhance it even more."

City Council President Dick Jordan said officials are eyeing additional phases after this one.

"We want to complete all the way down College to Court Street and bring all that area in," Jordan said. "I think we also need to do a streetscape on Seminary, from Tuscaloosa to Tennessee Street. It is amazing what a difference it makes, and what it adds to the quality of life to our city."

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

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