Thursday, March 27, 2014

Emmons Street Press Release

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 Visit to learn more. 


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Milford Daily News Story About Emmons Street

The Milford Daily News published a story today about the Emmons Street property discussion. 

The Partnership's position is included about two thirds of the way into the story. To read the full story please click here (you may be asked to subscribe). The story reads in part: 

Franklin:  Decision nearing on Emmons Street property 
by Matt Tota, Daily News Staff

FRANKLIN - A majority of Town Council members consider the idea of cultural or green space at 150 Emmons Street unrealistic, and the consensus has always been to lease or sell the property for new revenue. 

Chairman Robert Vallee said on Tuesday that the council -- apart from a few members -- has all but decided to issue a request for proposals to develop the property, the former home of the Town Hall.

"We want to see what's out there," Vallee said. 

For more than a year, the question of what to do with the corner parcel has bedeviled town officials. But an answer may emerge as early as next week.

On April 2, the council will take up the matter again, but not for a vote, according to vice chairman Matt Kelly.

To read the full text of the Partnership Board's letter to the Town Council, please click here.

The Emmons Street discussion is on the agenda for the April 2 Town Council meeting at 7:00 p.m. and the Economic Development meeting at 5:30 p.m. We encourage our members to attend and voice their opinions. If you are unable to attend, please send us your thoughts and ideas and we would be happy to present them to the council. 

Please email us at or call us at (774) 571-3109 if you have any additional questions. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Board of Directors Letter to Franklin Town Council

The following is the letter the Board of Directors sent to the Franklin Town Council last week.

Mr. Robert Vallee, Chair
Franklin Town Council
Office of the Town Administrator
355 East Central Street
Franklin, MA 02038

March 18, 2014

Dear Mr. Vallee:

The Franklin Downtown Partnership has had thoughtful discussions with many of our members over the last few months regarding the town-owned Emmons Street property.  We have listened to the concerns of important downtown stakeholders such as The Franklin Performing Arts Company, Simon’s Furniture, Artistry Kitchen and Dean College.  These are businesses that have invested heavily in the downtown area and will continue to do so in the future.  We have also spoken to residents, downtown business owners, building owners, members of the Downtown Partnership, the Historical Commission and the Franklin Art Association.

There is a consensus among these stakeholders that the town of Franklin should not approach this very important matter hastily and rush into writing an RFP to sell the Emmons Street property, which will serve as an important "Gateway" to downtown Franklin. This was evident during the March 4th town workshop when community members developed several different concepts which did not involve selling the property.

In the opinion of the Partnership, the time required to offer due diligence to the many interesting proposed uses of the property and the immanent physical changes to the downtown infrastructure render the Emmons Street property a subject that requires more time to determine the most beneficial course of action.

Therefore, we are requesting that the Town Council suspend issuance of an RFP for one year until after the following facts are known:  

1)    What the new traffic patterns will be on Emmons Street and West Central after the Streetscape project and the two-way traffic pattern is implemented.
a.    This information is vital before any new retail is established in this busy intersection and causes additional traffic issues.
b.    The  new traffic patterns that will result from the implemented streetscape project will provide the Town with more reliable data to help determine the best means of access to, and circulation within, the Emmons Street Property and to ensure that traffic does not back up to the Davis Thayer School.

2)    What the parking needs will be during the next 12 months with the current and new businesses, especially during construction.
a.    It is important to understand the growing parking needs of current businesses before losing the 50 parking spaces to new retail development.
b.    It is critical that the downtown businesses have a place to park during the streetscape project construction.
3)    What funding is available for non-commercial development such as greenspace/park, cultural arts center or a combination.
a.    It is important to give the community a chance to develop ideas and research funding sources.

Moving ahead without knowing these facts is not only doing a disservice to the community, but may be devastating to the economic development of the downtown.  We believe that the value of this property will increase after the streetscape project is completed so it would be prudent to wait.

The Franklin Downtown Partnership has over 200 members, and our mission over the last 12 years has been to improve the downtown and encourage economic  growth by working with residents, business owners, town and community leaders. We feel that this is one of the most important properties in our downtown and we have an opportunity for careful, long-term, creative thinking by the community and town officials. The Emmons Street property is a prominent "gateway" to downtown, and represents an opportunity to substantially impact the downtown's perception and character. The Town is in an advantageous position in that it controls this important piece of real estate. This parcel's development can have a positive impact on the downtown, and, by extension, the community at large.

The Downtown Partnership looks forward to working with the Town Council, the Planning Department and community leaders to find creative solutions and funding to develop a “Gateway Property” that everyone will be proud of. We encourage the Council to give the community a chance to support the vision of a vibrant downtown that has been outlined in the Master Plan.

Thank you for your time and consideration regarding this important decision.  We believe that only through careful and thoughtful planning will our community determine the best direction for the downtown and this important “Gateway” property.

Sincerely yours,

Franklin Downtown Partnership Board of Directors

Nicole Fortier/Dean Bank, Joel Carrara/Printsmart,
Cyndi Rich/Emma’s Quilt Cupboard, Roberta Trahan/Resident, 
Del Arnold/Historical Commission, , Pandora Carlucci/Franklin School Department,
Gregg Chalk/Dean College,Jane Curran/Jane’s Frames,
Gary Donelan /Middlesex Savings Bank, Dave Drucker/Dean College,
Mary Graff/Berry Insurance, Scott Martin/Hockomock YMCA,
Angie McMillan/The Cake Bar, Jim Schultz/Resident

Lisa Piana/Executitve Director-FDP

2014 Sponsorship Registration Form

Want to sponsor one of our popular events? Or would you prefer to help us make downtown Franklin more beautiful? 

There are many ways you can help!

Check our our Sponsorship Opportunities and pick a level that works for you and your budget.

Then download, print and mail in the Sponsorship Registration Form

It's that easy to help us make a difference.

2014 Sponsorship Opportunities

We've just announced our event dates and we've developed a list of Sponsorship Opportunities

If you would like to support our Strawberry Stroll, Harvest Festival, Holiday Stroll or our Beautification work we have many levels to fit your budget. 

Sponsorship has many benefits -- your business name on press materials, our website, signage and promotional materials, booths at our events, and more!

Fill our a Registration Form today and help us bring our popular events to downtown Franklin.

If you have questions please contact the office at

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Spring is the Time for Renewal

It is time to renew your FDP Membership for 2014!

This year, all business members who send in their 2014 membership form and check by April 30th will receive a FREE business listing in our new Franklin Brochure and Map!

Please download and print the 2014 Membership Application and send in your check soon.  Space is limited and we want you to be included!

Brochures will be distribute to all households in Franklin and surrounding towns.  

Limited advertising opportunities will also be available.  Stay tuned for more information here on our website.

2014 Events Press Release

Franklin Downtown Partnership Announces 2014 Event Dates

The Franklin Downtown Partnership has set the dates for this year’s Strawberry Stroll, Harvest Festival, Holiday Stroll and Beautification days. The FDP also announces its General Meeting Dates and invites the general public to attend and learn more about important issues and happenings in town.

Downtown Beautification Day will be Saturday, May 17, 9:00 a.m. to Noon. The Partnership, the Franklin Garden Club and many volunteers will install more than 1,200 flowers and greens, and community service hours will be available to students. Contact Eileen Mason at for details about sponsorship and volunteer opportunities. Winter Beautification Day will be Sunday, November 23.

The Partnership’s 11th annual Strawberry Stroll will take place on Thursday, June 12, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. A sidewalk sale, entertainment and the Partnership’s mouthwatering Strawberry Shortcakes will kick off summer in sweet style. The FDP currently is signing up sponsors for this event. Contact event Co-Chairs Nicole Fortier,, or Bryan Taberner,, for more information.

The always-popular Harvest Festival will be Sunday, October 5, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine. This annual event will draw at least 6,000 visitors to town for a fun afternoon of local entertainment, shopping, food and games. Booth registration information will be available on the FDP website in June.

The Holiday Stroll is set for Thursday, December 4, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. A visit from Santa, holiday music, crafts and specialty shopping draw hundreds of people downtown for this special holiday evening. Roberta Trahan and Gregg Chalk will co-chair this event.

Along with these popular events, the FDP also set its General Meeting dates: May 1, September 4 and November 6. The Partnership invites all business owners and residents to join discussions about issues affecting the area and learn more about the FDP’s efforts in revitalizing downtown Franklin. The meetings take place at 8:30 a.m. at the Dean College Campus Center.

More information about the events, meeting dates, sponsorship and volunteer opportunities can be found at

The Franklin Downtown Partnership is a 501(c)3 organization that works to stimulate economic development downtown to create a positive impact throughout the area. To that end the FDP runs events and takes an active role in downtown improvement projects like beautification efforts and streetscape design.  The Partnership currently has close to 200 members and welcomes all businesses and residents.

Any business, organization or resident interested in membership or sponsorship should contact Executive Director Lisa Piana at or (774) 571-3109, or visit the office at 9 East Central Street.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Emmons Street Discussion Continues

The Emmons Street discussion has been added to the Town Council's April 2nd meeting, 7:00 p.m. at Town Hall.  

Please try to attend this important downtown meeting.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

2014 Events/Meeting Dates

We have set the dates for this year's events and general meetings!

Contact information for each of the event chairs can be found under the Events tab located at the top of this page. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Large Turnout for Emmons Street Meeting

More than 50 people attended the public meeting at Town Hall last night to discuss the future of 150 Emmons Street, the former Town Hall and current home of the Recreation Department.

The Milford Daily News filed this report:

Franklin:  Emmons Street property up for debate

By Matt Tota
Daily News Staff 

Posted Mar. 5, 2014 @ 2:00 am 

FRANKLIN — Residents on Tuesday saw several conceptual designs for the redevelopment of the former town hall, including detailed proposals with parks, caf├ęs, offices, retail shops and performance spaces.
More than 50 people attended the workshop on what exactly should happen to the less than 1-acre piece of land at 150 Emmons St., considered by town officials to be an "important gateway" to the downtown.
Hoping to come away with ideas that will drive their decisions for the space, Town Councilors also sat in on the nearly two-hour meeting.

To read the rest of the Milford Daily News story please click here.

Steve Sherlock also covered the meeting via a live report on Franklin Matters.

Thank you to everyone who attended and voiced opinions about this important development issue. The matter will be discussed Thursday morning as part of the General Meeting agenda. The public is welcome to the meeting, which will take place at 8:30 a.m., March 6, at the Dean College Campus Center, Golder Room.