Florence K-8

Florence K-8 school

FLORENCE – Florence K-8 school and the surrounding neighborhood will have improved firefighting water pressure in a project now in progress, the Town Council was told Monday.

The council on Monday approved a contract modification with the general contractor, Apache Underground, for up to $1.3 million for quantities that were unknown when the project was first awarded. The design has since been completed and was sent to the contractor for an updated bid, Christopher Salas, public works director and town engineer, said in a written report to the council.

The town is planning to replace water lines that are undersized or of an antiquated construction that is prone to failure. A significant amount of the town’s water line infrastructure is 4-inch or smaller, which is unusual in modern construction and doesn’t allow for adequate fire flows, according to Salas’ report to the council.

The current project includes both 8-inch and 12-inch lines. Florence K-8 currently does not have code-compliant fire flows. Without the current project, planned improvements at the school would not be fit to occupy, according to Salas’ report to the council. The town’s Capital Improvement Plan anticipates replacing water lines where needed over the next 20 years.

In “call to the council,” Jerry Ravert of Florence asked for a public report of the facts the led to the decision to demolish the burned-out Kokopelli Saloon and related structures behind it, including the results of the arson investigation, structural report and other documentation.

Councilman Bill Hawkins and Vice Mayor John Anderson responded that the town’s records are public. Hawkins added that some details of an ongoing criminal investigation may be unavailable.

A North Christensen Road resident said she and her neighbors are in a predicament with their roads, and will have no way out during monsoon rains. Walter replied that the town manager will be in touch.

In other business, the council:

  • Proclaimed April as “Promise for the Future Month” in Florence. The program allows Pinal County eighth graders to sign a commitment to maintain their grades and do community service through their high school years in exchange for free tuition to Central Arizona College. The program is currently fundraising with a goal of growing its endowment to $10 million. Last year, 184 Florence students were eligible for the program. In all, more than 4,000 students have benefited since the program began less than 20 years ago.
  • Held a public hearing and finalized a rezoning on 470 S. Main St. from “NO” Neighborhood Office to “B-2” Highway Business.
  • Proclaimed April 2-13 as National Library Week in Florence.
  • Proclaimed April as Fair Housing Month in Florence.

Mark Cowling is the county reporter for PinalCentral and covers the town of Florence, San Tan Valley and the surrounding area. He can be reached at mcowling@pinalcentral.com.