Did you hear the one about the Florence swain who proclaimed his undying devotion for his ladylove? The problem was his chosen lady already wore a diamond on her finger, had the Vera Wang gown in her closet, and the announcement mailed to the newspaper. In short, he was the epitome of too little, too late.
The above would apply to UNA president Ken Kitts…if he really wanted the old Coffee High School property for the university. What Kitts really wants is almost anyone’s guess, and we’re guessing the right to say the university is due a new football stadium.
Let’s look at the timeline:
Fall 2014 – Plans are already underway for a new middle school on the Coffee property when Kitts arrives; he says nothing.
Summer 2016 – Demolition of the old Coffee building is announced, as well as the completion of architectural plans for the new middle school. Kitts says nothing.
Fall 2016 – Demolition is delayed due to a problem with a landfill permit. Kitts says nothing.
October 2016 – Demolition begins. Kitts says nothing.
November 2016 – Earthmoving on the site begins. Kitts says nothing.
December 2016 – Kitts privately approaches the Florence School Board with a request to purchase the land. The TimesDaily says nothing.
January 2017 – Rogers Kimbrell, presumably working for the university, attends a public school board meeting at which he asks them to consider trading the Coffee property for the old Powell School property.
February 2017 – Kitts goes to the TD with his idea to purchase or trade the property—29 months after his arrival at the university—stating it’s his duty.
The above facts are only what the public has been told. What other backroom finagling may have gone on, who knows? Does Kitts really want the old Coffee property? There are certainly enough reasons to believe he should never get it.
1. Florence has paid thousands of dollars to tear down four old buildings on the property, to prepare the property, to commission plans for a new school to sit on that specific property, and for a required traffic study.
2. Residential neighborhoods around the property don’t want the green space turned into a large parking lot/tailgaiting area.
3. Parents and public, leery of modular classrooms now in use, have been assured the new school will be ready for Fall 2018.
4. Even if UNA should in some manner actually acquire the Coffee property, it still wouldn’t own the stadium; that might be next on its list of proposed acquisitions, leaving the Florence Falcons in the lurch.
No, the most logical assumption here is that Kitts wants the city and the school board to say no to this more than odd request. He can then go to the university’s board and to the public to explain the pressing need of a new stadium for the now Division 1-AA Lions.
Before any readers proclaim “…but the university wouldn’t lie,” just remember this:
This is some great footage shot from a drone. Be sure to like and subscribe to this channel: