• Arizona
  • Thursday , Feb 1 , 2018

Area Info

3 minutes reading time (664 words)

Florence, Arizona: Where Dreams Come to Die

My excursion was met with prison after prison after prison after prison. I saw contracted prisons, state prisons, and the county jail. I turned left down Butte Avenue and what do you know; more prisons. I even saw a prison with some guys walking around in special uniforms and sunglasses however I didn't stick around long enough to ask questions. Florence even has an immigration's holding facility where illegal immigrants are processed. This led me to come to the conclusion that Florence is truly the place where dreams come to die.

I am sure those inmates and immigrants had dreams of doing something special someday. Some could have been doctors, lawyers, managers, teachers, and a host of other professions however their only hope today is the view of the world through a four-inch by two foot window, if they are lucky. But I wondered if the inmates were the only ones in prison. If you take the prison and the government agencies away Florence is more of a ghost town. Sure you have people carrying on with their daily activities however Florence does not have much to offer. I spoke to one resident who mentioned that a copper mining company was bringing 3,000 jobs to the town however they are involved in a nasty lawsuit with the town for taking their land. So why would Florence, a town in need of industry go after a company that was bringing in 3,000 jobs is puzzling to me. I guess that is above my pay grade.

Now I must admit that the prison industry isn’t the sole means for employment in Florence. It also holds the county seat and has a few thousand employees. I was more disappointed that the article failed to mention that 17,000 of the 25,428 people who live in Florence are residents of the corrections facility. It is something new to see a town include the prison population in their citizen population. I wonder if they had any trouble getting the inmates to fill out that 2010 Census questionnaire.

I then was told I should check out the Anthem housing development north of Florence. It is the newest part of the town consisting of a master-planned community and a few commercial businesses for the local residents. This was a tremendous upside from “old town” Florence. It was the difference between night and day. You have people enjoying themselves, golf carts creeping through the community and a host of amenities for the residents to keep them busy. But it comes at a price. Ask any resident and they will tell you they are being taxed to death. It seems the builders somehow past the cost of the homeowners which property taxes ranging from $2,400 to $5,000 per year. For me, $5,000 is what I would feel comfortable spending on a used car, not in property taxes. Anthem may not necessarily be a community where dreams come to die but at that tax rate they better have the defibrillator on hand.

Florence is a friendly little town and the people I encountered were very honest and nice. One thing I took away from my visit is you either really like or you really hate the political leaders. I heard so much in a short period of time that I bet the mayor’s ears where burning. Nevertheless, I won’t be relocating to Florence anytime soon. I have way too many dreams to conquer and the drive through “prison alley” isn't quite what I am looking forward to for my family at this time.

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