Monday, August 4, 2014

Emmons Street to be on 8/6 Town Council Meeting Agendas

The downtown Emmons Street property discussion is on the agenda for both the 5:30 p.m. Economic Development meeting and the 7:00 p.m. Town Council meeting this Wednesday, August 6.

A citizen's group called the "Gateway Committee" will present its letter regarding suggestions for the RFP for this town property.

Both meetings will be held at Town Hall.  The ED meeting will be in the conference room or lecture room.

Here's the text of the Gateway Committee's letter:

     July 23, 2014 page 1 of 3
     Mr. Robert Vallee, Chair
     Franklin Town Council
Office of the Town Administrator
355 East Central Street
Franklin, MA 02038

From: The Franklin Gateway Committee  -(citizens group)                                                                   
Re:     Proposed Emmons Street Property Redevelopment

Dear Mr. Vallee:

The future redevelopment of 150 Emmons Street, the site of the former Municipal Building in downtown Franklin, is located at one of the key gateways to Franklin Center. The property has a rich, longstanding history. For these reasons, we as interested citizens would like to see the redevelopment of the site remain a key gateway into downtown Franklin, which will maximize short-term and long-term benefits to the Town and its residents.

We would like to go on record, however, that this committee strongly urges the Town Council to wait on any development of this property until we can assess the true and real impact of the upcoming Streetscape project that will include a new two-way traffic pattern both on West Central Street and Emmons Street.

As a committee and a community, our overarching priority is to preserve the quintessential New England character and charm that downtown Franklin provides by including conditions in the future request for proposal that will define how the gateway to downtown will be developed. The following conditions help marry the principles that the Town has defined for the commercial district by creating a neighborhood identity that promotes pedestrian activity, human interactions, safety and livability.

This parcel is in the heart of the proposed Franklin Cultural District.  A community green space would offer economic benefits to the town by encouraging foot traffic and bringing people downtown to shop or dine.  Additionally, this space could provide a venue for a multitude of cultural activities, for example outdoor art exhibits, an artisan marketplace, or music and theatre performances.

  • We request that approximately 20% of the property, roughly 8,000 square feet, be retained by the town of Franklin, specifically the southwest parcel of land, in perpetuity, to be used as community green space.  Maintaining the corner of this parcel would allow the Town of Franklin to control the initial welcoming impression of visitors to the downtown area.
  • We fully concur that a statue or monument in honor of Horace Mann is appropriate and needed, and we support this measure that has been broadly talked about in discussion of the future use of this space. We recommend that the statue and green space project be designed and managed by a community committee in conjunction with the Town, rather than an outside developer, so the statue is done to the community's specifications. We suggest securing state funding for this important project.

  • We suggest that the building frontage to Route 140 have limited setback, after landscaping provisions, to continue and enhance the New England style main street appeal that exists in the downtown area.  

  • We request that parking be sufficient and adequate for the building use but not a primary focus of the development, with consideration given to the streetscape project and traffic pattern changes that have yet to occur.

  • We explicitly request that no drive-through of any sort be permitted in this development.

We feel strongly that these conditions above,incorporated in the request for proposal, together with the long-term planning recommendations above, will lead to a welcoming private/public investment to the gateway of downtown Franklin.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Signed, the Supporters of the Franklin Gateway Committee

Del Arnold Michael Lucier Karen M Young
Sue Bencuya Christopher Lucier Pamela Williams
Hannah Close Amanda Lucier Bruce Wood
Vicki Coates Stephanie Miksis              Deborah Ryan
Jane Curran Lisa Maxwell-Rounds Raye Lynn Mercer
Alec Danz Maxwell Morrongiello Hallie Wetzell
Stacey David Lisa Piana Connie Jones
Gary Donelan Nancy Rappa Roberta Trahan
Gail Eckberg Guy Rezendes Lisa Carlucci
Barbara Evans Joanne Roche Karilyn Hammer
Tom Fahey Rev. Carol Rosine Selena Cousin
Alan Mercer Marjorie Sardella Maura O’Brien
Richard Fotland Carl Scheinman Claire Griffin
Denise Schultz Theresa McDougall Thomas G. Curran
Paul Guarino John Sheridan Wayne McDougall
Tina Guarino Sue Sheridan Robert Piana
Daydre Hamilton Jean Sirois Richard Guardabascio
Jim Kupfer Chris Sternadore Suzanne Sayward
Maria Lucier Lynn Wetzell                   Lisa Buccella
Kathleen M. Kirchmyer Bill Buccella Virginia Gillis
Claire Malette.                Kathleen Nosek Rebecca Skinner
Jim Hill Erica Luttazi Bob Hamilton
Brenda Hutchinson Kelly Luttazi Rita Fahey
Joshua Close Julie Dolan Paul Peterson
Judy Luttazi Katie Buccella Sam Pasquantonio
Patricia Prewitt Steve Luttazi Terri Frank
Kevin Dolan Kim Rezendes Carolyn Marr
Tina Powderly Bob Hamiilton Claire Griffin
John Griffin