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The town of Florence built a sign directing traffic to downtown attractions at State Route 79 and the Main Street extension in 2016.

FLORENCE – Home building continues to boom in Florence, Town Manager Brent Billingsley reported to the Town Council.

The 12-month period ending Aug. 31 saw an increase of 56.7% in the number of single-family building permits in Florence over the same period last year, “which was a banner year for us if you recall,” Billingsley said. In August, the town issued 76 building permits, the second-highest total ever recorded in Florence, and is continuing at a pace well ahead of Arizona and Pinal County, he added.

Valuations for these permits are at or near record levels, with August’s total being the highest on record. “We remain ahead of last year’s pace in terms of valuation and quantity of permits issued to date,” Billingsley added in his written report to the council on Nov. 2.

He said the town has also been working with Pinal County for nine months on a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) project to increase the size of some water mains downtown. The town previously completed a 12-inch water main loop around downtown, “now we’re doing those cross-connectors in that loop to make sure we have good fire flows, not only for existing businesses and residents but also for economic development opportunities in key areas.”

Pinal County has dedicated $809,525 in CDBG funds on a waterline project with the town that will not only help link the town’s 12-inch loop, but also assist the county with water pressure to its new Development Services office building under construction on Florence Street.

The project includes installation of fire hydrants and an 8-inch main on 11th Street and a portion of North Pinal Street; a 12-inch line on East 13th Street and a portion of North Pinal Street; as well as a new 8-inch water line and a new hydrant on Willow Street between Florence High School and Adamsville Road.

“What a great example of partnerships and relationships,” Billingsley said. “I’m very proud our team.”

When the town proposed this to Pinal County nine months ago, it did so it in a way that benefits Pinal County, “but we offered to do the income surveys, the engineering design, the project management and the bid, so although it’s county money, the town has done all the legwork” to make it happen, Billingsley said.

The council on Nov. 2 approved an agreement letter between the town and Pinal County for the work. The construction contract will come before the council for action next month.

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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.