A core tenet of my vision for Franklin is the revitalization of its Downtown and historic mill buildings. I want to share my love for Franklin by providing reason for people to come to town. The establishment of the Cultural District and Franklin Downtown Partnership, along with the Roadway and Streetscape Improvement Project and construction of central housing, have been tremendous steps in bringing life to our beautiful city center but the work’s not done yet.
The recent MAPC-conducted market study calls attention to how few residents regularly bike or walk downtown. I think that this summer’s boom of outdoor explorers proved this is more for lack of accessibility than demand. Bringing sidewalks, bike lanes, and street lights to the next layer of residential life – like on Lincoln and Maple Streets – will enhance connectivity to the Downtown, while bike racks can further encourage visitation.
In addition, I am a firm supporter of extending the Trunkline Trail into Downtown. I truly believe that – by attracting both residents and out-of-towners to park Downtown, frequent Franklin’s businesses, and get more active – this project alone would enact a cascade of positive improvements.
In addition to the protection and appreciation for historic buildings, I would love to continue leveraging old town mills, factories, and schools to become pillars of local residence and retail. I’m excited to support the innovative Clark-Cutler-McDermott re-purposing and hope success can breed similar innovation in the mills at the Crossing.
I think the market study highlighted a strong need to improve marketing of local businesses. The pandemic placed even greater stress on Franklin’s small businesses. To thrive moving forward and slow turnover of Downtown establishments, there must be a greater effort to market Franklin First. A few ideas:
- Expand digital marketing (like this interactive map I put together!) to increase exposure of town offerings
- Add wayfinding signs for attractions in both the Downtown and the Crossing
- Partner with Dean and the Franklin Arts Academy to install artwork in Downtown alleyways
- Find ways to highlight the town’s cultural legacy, like returning the green/white/red center line on the Crossing stretch of Union
- Support initiatives of innovative coalitions, like the Franklin Downtown Partnership and #ShopFranklin
The majority of Franklin residents leave town for their shopping and dining needs every week. We as a town must seek innovative solutions and respond to consumer demand. A few ideas:
- Close Main Street – Emmons to West Central – to cars on summer weekends
- Expand outdoor seating
- Continue outdoor live music
- Support local agriculture with a locally-sourced food option
- Encourage food trucks and ice cream establishments
- Improve the street-front on downtown West Central Street
- Add regionally unique shops and eateries that encourage out-of-towners