City works to clean up downtown alleys

Jodi Camp/Franklin Favorite

Franklin City Hall has been working to improve alleyways in downtown to promote a safe and inviting environment for visitors and community members. The alleys also allow more space for parking near the square.

The city recently entered a contract with the owner of the lot on the corner of West Madison Street and High Street as first steps to create more parking downtown.

"Once word got out that we were working on the parking lot and the alley, we were approached by Kim Roberts with the Farmer's Market about using the alley for their Harvest Dinner in July," said Tammie Carey, community services director of the City of Franklin.

Carey said the Harvest Dinner was their new completion date for that parking lot and the alley. Ideally she said she would like to do the last three alleys downtown, but due to the process involved, she said completed those areas may take a few years.

Completing the alley next to the Brickyard Café involved the corporation of different people and organizations working together with the City Public Works employees. They created the parking area, added a fence and hung up lights. Franklin-Simpson Renaissance donated the lights and purchased flowers for decoration. The organization also maintains the plants for the city.

The Franklin-Simpson Farmers Market donated the shrubs and the Franklin-Simpson Community Arts Council build the planter boxes. Lastly, the City Community Development Department made the signs.

"The project was definitely a community effort," said Carey. "I think that is what I think is so cool about our community."

Carey said the next alley they are hoping to work on is the one behind the businesses on Main Street. Several months ago utility lines, phone lines and cable lines were hanging down across the alley and building making it hard to do any clean up.

The utility companies installed new lines and new poles to raise some lines, she said. The only thing left before starting work is to clear out the old lines, which may take a while.

Carey said the idea for the other alleys are similar to the one beside the Brickyard Café with plants, flowers and more lighting.

"I think each alley has different characteristics that need to be taken into consideration, if there is an alley is going to be accessible to cars on a regular basis then string lights might not be the best option," she said.

Carey said the reason these projects go so slowly is because there is not a lot of money to complete the projects. There is some money in community development, but the projects really depend on community partnerships with other agencies and groups pulling resources.

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