Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Anniversary Fundraiser Gala Press Release

Franklin Downtown Partnership to Host Anniversary Gala

The Franklin Downtown Partnership will host an anniversary fundraiser gala on Saturday, November 12, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. at THE BLACK BOX to celebrate 15 years of service to the residents and businesses of Franklin.

Enjoy entertainment, dancing and mingling, and a chance to win auction and raffle items from local merchants as you view the new look of our downtown. Meet FDP members, learn more about the non-profit organization, and see what future plans hold for downtown Franklin.

Tickets are $100 per person and will go on sale in September.  Sponsorships are welcome; contact the FDP office at if interested.

If you would like to donate auction or raffle items, or to volunteer to help with the event, please contact event organizers Beth Wierling,, or Jane Curran,

The Franklin Downtown Partnership is celebrating its 15th year as a non-profit, 501©3 organization made up of 200 member businesses, residents and community leaders working to revitalize downtown Franklin. The Partnership runs events such as the Strawberry Stroll, the Harvest Stroll and the Holiday Stroll, and is involved in streetscape and design efforts, greenspace and sculpture projects. New members are always welcome. Learn more at    


Pictured L-R:  Nicole Fortier, President of the Partnership for 11 years;
Lisa Piana, Executive Director of the Partnership for 12 years. 

Click here to download this press release. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Thank You FDP Harvest Stroll Sponsors!

The Franklin Downtown Partnership's Harvest Stroll will be Thursday, October 6, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Organizers are putting together some great fun and new activities for this favorite fall event.  

The Harvest Stroll is made possible thanks the support and generosity of our sponsors!

Gold Sponsor  
                       Middlesex Savings Bank
                       Rockland Trust

Silver Sponsors     
                       Dean Bank
                       Franklin Ford
                       Keefe Insurance

Bronze Sponsors   
                       Beaux Regards Photographic Art by Marjorie Sardella
                       Chestnut Dental
                       Digital Federal Credit Union
                       Michael Dunsky, Branch Manager Guaranteed Rate, Inc.
                       Hillside Nurseries

Friends Sponsors  
                       D.G. Ranieri Real Estate
                       Franklin Health & Rehabilitation Center
                       Maven Hair Company
                       Rescom Exteriors Inc.
                       Simon's Furniture
                       The Franklin Historical Museum
                       Tom Fricker Heating & A/C, Inc.

Sponsorships are welcome! Please contact the FDP office at if interested. Click here for the Sponsorship Registration Form and the Sponsorship Opportunities

You can still participate in the Harvest Stroll. The deadline to register is September 15. Click here to download a Harvest Stroll Registration Form. Participation questions? Contact event co-chair Scott Martin at

2014 Harvest Festival, Main Street

Monday, August 8, 2016

Harvest Stroll Registration Form

We're already busy planning our annual fall event, and this year we've given it a new name!

This year's Harvest Stroll will be Thursday, October 6, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in downtown Franklin.

Thanks to the two-way traffic changes downtown, we will block off Main Street for this year’s Stroll, making room for more participant booths, activities and entertainment.

“We have some big plans for this year’s Harvest Stroll, including some new attractions. We’re envisioning a block party downtown in October. The streetscape project will be nearly complete and we hope the community takes the afternoon to enjoy downtown and celebrate the improvements,” says Scott Martin, event co-chair along with Beth Simon and Jared Simon.

Harvest Stroll booths are free to Downtown Partnership business members and cost $75 for non-members. Businesses and groups that want to participate can contact Martin at

Click here to download a registration form. Booths will be awarded on a first-come first-served basis.

Sponsorships are available for this event. If interested, contact FDP Executive Director Lisa Piana at

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

What Has The FDP Been Doing For 15 Years?

You've visited, walked by or driven past these places and things for years, yet have you ever stopped to think how they came to be? 

Here are some of the projects and events the Franklin Downtown Partnership has created or been involved with since 2001:

1 - The multi-year $7.25 million Streetscape Improvement Project 
2 - The Franklin Commons Development

3 - The Cake Bar patio on East Central Street
4 - The Summer Street patio area and green space
5 - The green space sitting area on West Central Street
6 - The design of the green space in front of the Historical Museum
7 - The bronze statue of the straw hat boy in front of the Historical Museum
8 - The park benches in downtown
9 - The downtown changeable gateway signs
10 - The new trash and recycling barrels
11 - The downtown holiday decorations and lights 
12 - Beautification and flowers throughout the downtown
13 - The launch and early management of the Farmers’ Market
14 - The Food Elves “12 Days of Donating” campaign
15 - The Franklin downtown map and brochure
16 - Emmons Street development property
17 - The 150 Emmons Street green space and Horace Mann Statue 
18 - Franklin High School scholarships
19 - On-going Economic Development 
20 - The Annual Strawberry Stroll

21 - The Annual October Stroll
22 - The Annual Holiday Stroll and Tree Lighting
23 - Progressive Dinner and Third Thursday Events
24 - On-going community outreach and business support

25 - Won’t you join us this year for our next exciting downtown project?

Monday, August 1, 2016

Franklin Downtown Partnership Celebrating 15-Year Milestone

We are celebrating 15 years of collaborations and partnerships, projects and progress!

15 Years Strong: The Franklin Downtown Partnership Works Toward Vision of Revitalized Downtown Center 

It began with a few business owners, some community leaders, a town employee, and several Franklin residents who wanted to revitalize downtown Franklin’s development, help recreate the town center as a destination, and help stimulate economic growth.

Fifteen years, three new mixed-use buildings, 25 beautification days, three greenspace areas, new benches, new trash barrels, one bronze statue, nearly 40 events and downtown strolls, one Streetscape and Roadway Improvement plan, and 200 members later, the Franklin Downtown Partnership is planning even more collaborations and improvements in the heart of Franklin. 

“It’s truly all about the word ‘Partnership.’ Our goal has always been to stimulate economic growth by bringing community groups, the town, businesses and residents together and putting ideas to work that improve our downtown,” says Lisa Piana, FDP Executive Director. 

“We’ve worked on impactful projects behind the scenes; things that have cultural, beautification and historical importance and improve the quality of life in town.”

East Central Street furniture building, 2005.

Over time, many people have forgotten the 
dilapidated furniture store building on East Central Street, which is now the home of The Cake Bar, Maguro House and Dean College student housing. Others have forgotten the abandoned rental car lot on West Central Street across from THE BLACK BOX and Mac City. That location is now commuter parking and greenspace.

Franklin Commons building, East Central Street, 2015.

Strawberry Stroll, 2007, West Central Street greenspace.

Projects like these illustrate the non-profit Partnership’s mission – to stimulate economic development; to bring residents, business owners, and community leaders together; to encourage cooperation; and to provide leadership for the purpose of revitalizing downtown Franklin. 

“We started with the main belief that a strong, thriving downtown is the heart and soul of Franklin. Interestingly, we have a lot of members who are not downtown businesses who understand that. The connections we create make the difference. It has taken all of these people coming together over the past 15 years that make the Partnership work,” says Jane Curran, a founding FDP board member. 

In 2001, the group started with only eight members. By 2015 the organization had grown to nearly 200 member businesses, groups and residents. Many of those have been members for more than 10 years. In the past 15 years the FDP has had a hand in at least 25 projects (see related article). 

“In that time I’ve seen the organization grow to 200 members, and I’m very proud of the way we work cohesively together on to these important projects,” says Nicole Fortier, FDP President for the past 12 1/2 years.  “Positive changes require great ideas, countless volunteer hours, and, often times, funding and support from our town council and state representatives, and we’ve been very successful in leading these collaborations.”

Franklin Town Administrator Jeff Nutting says in 2001 the Town Council made the revitalization of the town center a priority and began working with the FDP. According to Nutting, the Partnership has played an important role in the overall economic development of Franklin. 

A flurry of new building on East Central and Summer streets, greenspace installations, downtown gateway signs, and creation of a statue in front of the Historical Museum in the early 2000s slowed when the U.S. economy struggled beginning in 2007. The Partnership continued to hold seasonal events downtown as a way for the community to socialize and to draw interest to the area. The group also solicited members’ ideas and opinions about the Roadway and Streetscape Improvement project. 

Park and statue at Franklin Historical Museum

When road construction is completed in late summer, downtown Franklin will be safer for pedestrians and have a more welcoming appearance. 

“During construction our main focus is on supporting the businesses that are downtown today. We currently meet with town officials every two weeks to keep members up to date. We are planning another progressive dinner and new ways to bring people into the center of town,” says Lisa Piana. 

The group is also making a strategic plan for life after two-way traffic and working on aesthetic improvements, including banners for the light poles. Organizers are busy planning the annual events as well. 

The Partnership’s Strawberry Stroll will happen June 9, the October Stroll will be October 6 and the Holiday Stroll is set for December 1. The group is lining up networking events and guest speaker presentations, and will also lend support to the Franklin Cultural District Committee’s Summer Arts Festival in July. 
Volunteers, Senator Spilka at Summer Street ribbon cutting ceremony.

(L to R) Jim Vallee, Jeff Nutting, Jane Curran, Lisa Piana
with gateway signage downtown Franklin.
The Partnership and the Town of Franklin both agree that the finished downtown project will attract more private investment to the area.

“A vibrant downtown is a core value of a community. People identify with a nice downtown, one that’s an attractive place to socialize, dine out, and do business. An improved downtown improves rents, and improved rents improve the town’s bottom line,” says Town Administrator Nutting.  

“We’ll still have challenges,” he continues. “Parking is one we’re continually working on; it’s a problem faced by every downtown. The future of Franklin is about redevelopment of old warehouses and manufacturing space, and upgrading buildings downtown. We just have to keep going. People still need a social network, service needs, unique places to shop. The challenge is finding the right mix of businesses that will do well in downtown Franklin, and the Partnership can help us do that.”

 According to Fortier, when the streetscape project is completed this summer and traffic flow is improved, the downtown will be much closer to what the Partnership envisioned many years ago. 

“We’ll be able to feel the change in downtown Franklin,” says Fortier. “As an organization, the Partnership will continue to drive foot traffic to the center of town and invite interesting and unique businesses and restaurants to move here. We’re not done.”

The Partnership invites residents and business owners to participate in discussions about what they would like to see in their downtown. The group relies on sponsorship, membership dues and donations to fund events and oversee projects. Resident memberships are $25, and business memberships start as low as $100.