Downtown Partnership Board Seeks More Discussion on
Emmons Street Property
The Franklin Downtown Partnership Board of Directors sent a letter last week to the Franklin Town Council asking for more time to consider possible uses for the town-owned property at the corner of Emmons Street and West Central Street.
The future of 150 Emmons Street is scheduled for discussion at the April 2 Town Council meeting. The meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. at the Municipal Building and is open to the public.
At a March 4 town workshop, concerned business owners and residents filled the room to hear proposals from a local developer and an architectural firm. Community leaders expressed interest in not selling the property and considered developing it into a ‘gateway property’ that would include a cultural center, green space with a sculpture, a park or a combination of these ideas.
After receiving calls from residents and listening to the concerns of its members, including the Franklin Performing Arts Company, Artistry Kitchen, Dean College, the Franklin Art Association and the Franklin Historical Commission, the Partnership’s board felt it was important to ask the Town Council not to rush into selling the property.
“The Town is in an advantageous position in that it owns this important piece of real estate. We have an opportunity for careful, long-term, creative thinking by the community and town officials. The FDP Board feels it is important to give businesses and residents a chance to further research and develop their ideas,” says Franklin Downtown Partnership Executive Director Lisa Piana.
The Partnership’s letter asks the Town Council to suspend issuing a Request for Proposal, or RFP, until the community has time to analyze the impending streetscape project’s impact on traffic and parking and to investigate funding options for noncommercial ideas.
The letter outlined specific goals the Partnership would like considered for the site, including making sure the end result does not cause additional traffic or parking issues. With the streetscape construction about to begin, the FDP is concerned about parking and wants to make sure that the 50 parking spaces located on the site are available to businesses for the next 12 months.
“We are asking for time to explore alternative proposals and give a project of this magnitude the proper due diligence it deserves,” says Roberta Trahan, Franklin Downtown Partnership Secretary. “The FDP Board looks forward to working with the Town Council, the Planning Department and community leaders to determine the best direction for the downtown and this important ‘Gateway’ property.”
The FDP is a non-profit group of 200 business owners, residents and community leaders who are working to revitalize the downtown area. For over ten years the organization has provided a voice for the community in matters of public policy and infrastructure projects, and has been involved in many downtown beautification projects, including the greenspace on West Central Street, the bronze sculpture and greenspace in front of the Historical Museum, the patio near The Cake Bar, and the downtown signs and park benches in the center of town.
Perhaps the FDP is best known for its annual events like the Strawberry Stroll, Harvest Festival and Holiday Stroll. The FDP’s office is located at 9 East Central Street, and the Partnership encourages residents to stop by the office if they would like to get more involved in helping to revitalize downtown Franklin.
Residents who would like to share their opinion on the Emmons Street property are welcome to attend the April 2 meeting or they can contact the Franklin Downtown Partnership at (774) 571-3109 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit franklindowntownpartnership.org to learn more.