Mayor Andy Betterton

April 29 , 2021

Footsteps of Florence

Footsteps of Florence is a gift to the citizens of Florence from Trinity Episcopal Church in gratitude for the support of the St. Francis Project. This project has raised over 1 million dollars since its beginning in 2008. Funds are used to give grants to local organizations whose practices are based on the Prayer of St. Francis.

Mary White, who has led this project from the start, approached the Florence Public Art Committee with the idea of a public art project similar to the Library Walk in New York City. The Footsteps of Florence is a collection of inspirational quotes, many of which have ties to our area. These quotes were then illustrated by former Florence artist, David Sims, and cast into bronze plaques. The plaques have been embedded in the concrete sidewalks surrounding Wilson Park. Three additional plaques will be placed in front of Trinity Episcopal, First United Methodist, and First Presbyterian churches highlighting their continuation of the St. Francis Project.

Footsteps Of Florence
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COVID-19 Vaccination Mobile Clinic

North Alabama Medical Center has 10,000 doses of vaccine for our community. Let's work together to get eligible folks vaccinated and beat this virus! Over the next few months, NAMC will continue to host vaccine clinics.

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Vaccine Clinic Chad's Pharmacy

Chad's Payless Pharmacy will offer a COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic in partnership with District 1 Council Member Kaytrina Simmons. The pharmacy will provide 1,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine for the public. Drive-thru the parking lot from Doctor Hicks Blvd with a photo I.D.

Where: 501 West College Street, Florence

When: Saturday, April 30th & Sunday, May 1st from 9 AM to 6PM

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ARTS ALIVE: May 15 & 16

Arts Alive, downtown Florence’s visual arts festival, will take place in Wilson Park and at Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts on the weekend of May 15th and 16th, 2021. Festival hours are Saturday from 9 am-5 pm, and Sunday from 10 am-5 pm. An Opening Night Gallery Exhibit Preview kicks off the event on Friday, May 14th. Details and tickets are available online at

Approximately 80 artists working in various media, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, textiles, mixed media, metal, clay, jewelry, and photography, will sell their artwork in booths in Wilson Park. Additionally, the Arts Alive Gallery Exhibition at Kennedy-Douglass will showcase artwork from approximately 62 artists from May 15th through June 18th, 2021.

Additional festival attractions in the park include:

  • an art activity tent for children,
  • specialty food trucks,
  • and a large-scale mural demonstration by UNA art professor Parker Seward.

Kennedy-Douglass will display artwork from Florence elementary school children in the breezeway between the Main and Annex galleries. Kennedy-Douglass Art Center Volunteers organize this annual, juried art event to raise funds for arts education in area schools and foster public appreciation for the arts. This year’s juror is Amy Jenkins, Visual Arts Program Manager for the Alabama State Council on the Arts. Over $4,000 in prize money will be awarded to artists in several categories across park and gallery participants.

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Moving to Florence

Vertillo Pizza & Grill will be relocating this summer to Florence Boulevard in the former Pizza Hut. Brooklyn, New York native, Marlene Patrick, named the pizzeria after her Italian grandparents. Vertillo lives up to her grandparent's exacting standards with hand-cut fries, stone-oven pizzas, and freshly made-to-order food. Mayor Andy Betterton, District 3 City Council Member Bill Griffin, and Business Development Coordinator Melissa Bevis, had the honor of meeting the outstanding Vertillo team and tasting their authentic pizza, cheese ravioli, cannoli, and the famous dill pickle pizza. Stay tuned for details about the opening of the family-friendly Vertillo Pizza & Grill in Florence!

Vertillo Pizza & Grill
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With the recent passing of Ms. Peggy (Steele) Clay, the City of Florence lost one of its revered citizens. She grew up in Tuscumbia near the mansion known as Locust Hill, which was owned by the late Mary Wallace Kirk. In fact, both of Peggy's parents were employed by Miss Kirk. After college, Peggy achieved her dream of being a teacher. In Florence, she taught at W.C. Handy Elementary School until it closed in the mid-1960's; then began her years as a beloved teacher of second graders at J.W. Powell Elementary School. Along the way, she had the once-in-a-lifetime experience of working as a teacher/educator, traveling around the country on the staff of the National Geographic Society for a few years. Always involved in ways to improve her own City of Florence, Peggy was a founding member of Music Preservation Society, the group that produces the W.C. Handy Music Festival -- and she worked tirelessly over the years to help it become a much-anticipated annual event. Yes, Florence laments the loss of this lady with the broad smile and a lightning-quick retort filled with humor. She was, indeed, an amazing lady.

Billy Warren, City Historian

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The Mayor and Council members will hold the next council meeting on

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

4:00 p.m. Work Session

5:00 p.m. Council Meeting

City Auditorium

103 South Pine Street

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A little laugh...

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How to Submit Your Event, News, or Announcement:

  • Public and community events or announcements can be submitted by attaching an email, Word document, PDF, or JPG file suitable for viewing on the web. Include graphics in JPG or PNG if possible.
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  • IMPORTANT: Please submit your information no later than Tuesday of each week (preferably sooner). Submissions after the deadline will be added to the next week's publication. The newsletter is posted on Thursday afternoon.
  • Send your information to or call Rachel Koonce with questions at 256-760-6494.

Background Photo By District 1 Council Member Kaytrina P. Simmons

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