In the news today -- the Milford Daily News had this article about our 15th Anniversary Fundraising celebration and successes.
Franklin partnership celebrating its 15th year
By Mike Gleason Daily News Staff FRANKLIN - The Franklin Downtown Partnership is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, looking back on a period of immense change in the area.
The partnership will be officially noting the birthday this weekend, with a gala set to take place Saturday night at the Black Box.
Partnership Executive Director Lisa Piana said the group began with a handful of business owners, who decided to work with the town to revitalize downtown. in 2001. Piana herself joined as director in 2005.
"In 2005, there were 15 members; now, there are more than 250," she said. "We've really grown as an organization, and we've worked hand-in-hand with the town."
Among the items the partnership has promoted, said Piana, is the idea that there should be meeting spaces for people in the area.
"The patio by the Cake Bar is something that the partnership was very vocal about," she said. The group was able to convince a developer to leave space for the patio between two commercial buildings, she said.
That idea will be reflected in the greenspace that will be set up at the intersection of Emmons and West Central streets, Piana said. That area, which will feature a statue of native son Horace Mann, will sit next to a new commercial building.
Piana said volunteers are tremendously important to what the partnership does, and that volunteers like Eileen Mason - who leads a group that plants flowers in downtown - and those who participate in the "Food Elves" food drive are integral to its mission.
The partnership's efforts, Piana said, are made possible by relationships it has developed with local groups.
"The thing I'm most proud of is the working relationship between the town and the partnership," she said. "We get calls asking about the secret to our success, and it has a lot to do with the positive thinking and attitudes of town officials and organizations like Dean College and Dean Bank."
After celebrating the area's past 15 years, the partnership will be meeting to consider its future.
"I think we'll be getting together in January to answer those questions," Piana said. "We want to support businesses more and encourage new businesses to move in. We also want to get residents more involved."
Piana said the partnership and the town's Planning Department had been working to determine how to best fill the area after the completion of the streetscape project.
"To me, personally, it's just a privilege to work with so many great people," she said. "So many people are dedicated to the goal of revitalizing downtown."