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City authorizes engineering work to begin on sidewalk project phase 1

The Franklin City Commission authorized planning and engineering work to begin on the first phase of the College Street Sidewalk project at its meeting on Monday, July 12.

The first phase is for construction of sidewalks from the area of Franklin-Simpson High School to Rolling Road Drive.

No timetable was given for the project. Cost of phase one is estimated at $45,000.

Arnold Consulting and Engineering will do the planning and engineering work for phase one.

A neighborhood walk followed by a public meeting attended by 31 people on the overall College Street sidewalk project was held June 28.

The area from the high school to Rolling Road Drive was ranked as the first area for the project on each of 22 comment sheets received by the city on the project.

Former Kentucky State Representative Wilson Stone received a Key to the City during the meeting.

Stone served more than 10 years as representative of the state’s 22nd House District, which includes Simpson County.

Mayor Larry Dixon presented the Key to the City to Stone. Each city commissioner spoke praising Stone’s efforts as a state representative.

The commission approved closing portions of John J. Johnson Avenue and Jefferson Street from 3 a.m. on Friday, July 23 through 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 25 for a Historic Harristown District Summit — Jazz Festival.

Historic Harristown District President — Director Dylan Holder discussed the event that begins at 11 a.m. and concludes at 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and begins at 10 a.m. and concludes at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

A flyer for the event says it will highlight the district and unveil plans of enhancement, revitalization and restoration as well as honoring the former Lincoln High School and the school’s graduates.

Mayor Dixon was appointed to the Barren River Area Development District Aging Council to serve a term through June 20, 2023. Dixon abstained on the vote for his appointment to the council.

Commissioners approved the purchase of 50 new firearms for Franklin Police at a cost of almost $35,050. The firearms will replace firearms that are more than 10 years old currently used by the police department.

Approval was given to the transfer of certain types of ammunition from the police department to the Simpson County Sheriff’s Office. The police department is discontinuing the use of certain caliber of firearms and no longer needs the ammunition.

The commission approved a one-year agreement with an independent contractor for Geographic Information System services at a cost of $42,000.

First reading two ordinances were held, one authorizes an inducement related to collection of city occupational taxes at Taeyang North America, the other enacts and adopts a supplement to the city’s code of ordinances.

No vote is taken on first reading of a city ordinance.

The commission approved promoting Franklin Police Officer Richard Vaughn from the rank of lieutenant to captain.

And, the commission heard an update from officials from the Barren River Area Development District regarding work on a regional hazard mitigation plan.

State awards funding for road work at Henderson Industrial Park

Governor Andy Beshear announced a funding award from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) to help keep business booming and employment increasing in a fast-growing industrial park in Franklin.

A press release said the $300,000 award will go toward widening and upgrading an existing road on the boundary of Henderson Interstate Industrial Park to form a badly needed second access road as the park expands. The road, Eddings Road, will primarily serve emergency vehicles and employees of companies in the park.

“Our Kentucky economy is going strong, and the impressive growth of Henderson Interstate Industrial Park is an illustration of that,” Governor Beshear said. “Hundreds of jobs have been created at this industrial park and more will be created as it expands. The funding for Eddings Road will ensure there are no roadblocks to progress and growth in the area.”

The Franklin-Simpson Industrial Authority estimates this portion of the Eddings Road project will cost about $500,000. State funding will cover the majority of the cost and the Industrial Authority will pay for the remainder.

“Transportation and economic development work hand in glove to meet the needs of today with an outlook to the future,” said KYTC Secretary Jim Gray. “This investment is the next phase of what has been an almost decade-long state investment to construct this road that will improve access and connectivity.”

“We are very pleased to learn that funding for the widening of Eddings Road has been approved,” Franklin Simpson Industrial Authority Chairman Gary Broady said. “The improvements to Eddings Road will allow for the further development of our Henderson Industrial Park. It will help attract even more industrial projects to our area.”

Located off I-65 along Highway 100 East, the Henderson Interstate Industrial Park began with 450 acres, of which only 180 acres remain available. The Industrial Authority has purchased an additional 187 acres for future development.

Companies such as Sumitomo, Taeyang Metals, Hunt Ford, Three Springs Distillery, Alliance Distribution, Axem, and Precision Power have or are in the process of locating in the park.

F-S High School auditorium, alternative school site proposed

The Simpson County Board of Education began the process for possible construction of a F-S High School auditorium and new alternative school facility at its monthly meeting on July 15.

The board approved submission of what is known as a BG1 form that goes to the Kentucky Department of Education listing funding sources and cost of the project. Approval from the state department of education is required before the school district can move on with the project.

The combined total cost of the auditorium and new alternative school project is $8.1 million and will be funded through bond sales.

The application to the state is requesting a 700-seat auditorium.

If approved, the auditorium will face the same direction as the high school gym. It will be connected to the gym and share the same lobby and restrooms.

Simpson County Schools Superintendent Tim Schlosser said the footprint for the auditorium was laid out when the gym was constructed in 2008.

“It would be a tremendous opportunity for our fine arts department, our band, choir, drama, musicals and our new orchestra program to have a place to showcase their talents, also our elementary school programs and middle school programs,” Schlosser said. “We’ll have our own home to be able to do those things here on campus.”

The alternative school will consist of six classrooms and a multipurpose room built on the back of the career and tech center on the high school campus.

The alternative school is currently located in the former high school gym on Yokley Street and is known as the West Campus.

“We just can’t paint or sand or put in any more window units or repair heating units in that building (West Campus) much longer,” Schlosser said.

Schlosser said the current West Campus facility can be used an auxiliary gym if the new alternative school site is approved.

No timetable for completion of the project has been given.

Some 38 items were approved during the meeting including 13 fundraisers, five handbooks, food service bids and the senior yearbook photo bid.

Food service bids were awarded to Gordon Food Service, Prarie Farms Dairy and SFS Pacs/Smart Systems.

The senior yearbook photo bid was awarded to Images by Amy.

Historic Harristown District Summit-Jazz Festival happening July 23-25

A Historic Harristown District Summit-Jazz Festival known as “Rock the Block” will be held Friday, July 23 through Sunday, July 25. The event begins at 11 a.m. and ends at 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

The summit-festival will be held in the area of the intersection of John J. Johnson Avenue and Jefferson Street. The event is taking place primarily outdoors with 30-food vendors scheduled to attend.

The event will highlight the Historic Harristown District and unveil plans of enhancement, revitalization and restoration as well as honoring the former Lincoln High School and the school’s graduates.

Tickets are required with prices beginning at $15 for general admission. Food vendor costs are not included in the price of admission.

Ticket information is available on the Historic Harristown website and on a link available on the Historic Harristown District Facebook page. Ticket information is also available by calling 615-891-0856.

The Historic Harristown District organization is holding the event. Proceeds will go the organization to fund revitalization and enhancement purposes in the Harristown district.

An opening ceremony will be held Friday, July 23 beginning at noon. The ceremony will be attended by Historic Harristown District Board members, city officials and others.

Historic Harristown District banners will be unveiled during the opening ceremonies.

The banners will be on display throughout the district welcoming people to the district. The banners will be purple and gold, the school colors for the former Lincoln High School, which also included other grades and was attended by African Americans before desegregation in public schools.

The first block for the Walk of Fame on the sidewalk along John J. Johnson Avenue will be unveiled. The blocks in the Walk of Fame will have a star in the center with the name of an individual who was influential in both the district and city.

The historic district board, city officials and others in the community will vote on the names to place on the Walk of Fame.

The first block on the Walk of Fame will honor the late Lucille Brooks. Ms. Brooks was an activist with the Human Rights Commission and NAACP and also a founder of the African American Heritage Center in Franklin.

Music will be performed after the opening ceremonies. Street performers will be followed by live bands.

The Saturday, July 24 events will include “Move the Beat” that will feature dee jays playing 30 minute sets of various types of music including jazz, classical, soul, blues, R&B, and country.

A gospel celebration and closing ceremony will be held as part of the Sunday, July 25 events.

“Our organization has been formed now for about a year and a half, we started in the midst of the pandemic basically trying to get development as far as getting our goal and plan of what we as an organization want to present to the community,” Historic Harristown District director and Legendary Legacy association president Dylan Holder said.

The Legendary Legacy Association governs the district board that consists of 14 members including Holder, three pastors, business owners, a representative of the African American Heritage Center and others.

“We had an event planned during the pandemic for the public to get more information out. However, due to the pandemic we were not able to do so,” Holder said. “This event, the District Summit, is going to help our organization put a face with a name for all community members to know who is on our board. Also, it gives us the opportunity to communicate to the community, what is our goal, what are our plans, how are we helping advance the community. An attachment to that (summit) is a music festival, a jazz festival we specifically said. We’re attaching a fun part. We’re always about creativity, about the arts. We think the arts is a great way to bring community, to bring love and so we wanted to attach something fun that people can come to. So, you’re getting something informative, but also you’re getting a nice, fun event to come to. It’s a family friendly event.”

Holder also praised city officials for helping with the organization’s efforts.

For more information, contact Holder about the summit-jazz festival or about the Historic Harristown District organization.

P&Z approves final plans for Kentucky Downs Hotel

The Franklin-Simpson Planning and Zoning Commission approved a final development plan for a hotel at a special called meeting on Tuesday, July 13.

Kentucky Downs is constructing the hotel at their site on Nashville Road.

A final development plan was approved for a Dollar General retail store at 1943 E. Cedar St. The store will be assigned a Scottsville Road address.

Preliminary approval was given to Jimmy Swindle’s development plan for a new commercial spec building on Federal Street.

P&Z also approved an amendment to the development plan for the expansion at Lewis Memorial, which is currently underway at the existing structure that was built in 2017.