Music has the power to set a mood, change an attitude or create an emotion.
With that in mind, music has been added to the Downtown Historic District in Franklin. Through a partnership of the Franklin-Simpson Renaissance, the City of Franklin and the Downtown Merchants Association, a wireless sound system has been installed in the historic downtown district.
For the past year, Franklin-Simpson Renaissance Executive Director Amy Ellis and Community Development Director for the City of Franklin Tammie Carey have traveled across the state to see what other towns are doing to increase the quality of life in their downtowns. A consistent find during the visits was the incorporation of music in the downtowns.
"When we got out of the car in Greenville to meet with the City Manager and Main Street Director about several projects they had added to their city, we heard music," Carey said. "Music was playing very softly but it immediately caused us to slow down, look around the downtown and think how pleasant it was to be in that space."
They brought the idea of adding music to the Historic Downtown District back to City Manager Kenton Powell. After researching with Renaissance Board Member Chris Davidson, who is an electrician and City Public Works Superintendent Joe Link, the decision was made to purchase an eight speaker wireless sound system from Airnetix, Inc. The Airnetix, Inc. system was designed specifically for downtowns and Franklin will be a model city for the system. The purchase was made in late December and installed in late January.
Music will be played daily in the Downtown Historic District during regular business hours and on the weekends. Music will be played to coincide with holidays or special events. For example love songs were played this week in observance of the Valentine's Day holiday.
"The idea behind the music is to enhance the experience of visiting downtown Franklin, Kentucky," Ellis said. "We want visitors, tourists and most of all citizens to enjoy being in the Historic Downtown District. We want them to eat, play and shop in downtown Franklin. We think the addition of music will help create the atmosphere that Franklin is a welcoming city."
The eight-speaker system includes a microphone, which can be used for public announcements during events or in emergencies. Announcements can be made and heard throughout the downtown district. The software for the system locks out signals that can interfere with the music being played. The first weeks of playing music will be a trial for the volume level and speaker placement.
"If we have a lost child or a storm is approaching during a time when there is a crowd downtown, we can make announcements that can be heard all the way around the courthouse and up and down Main Street," Ellis said.
The controls for the system will be housed inside City Hall and the volume on each speaker can be controlled remotely. Music will be played through an Internet radio subscription. The Downtown Merchants Association has agreed to pay for the first year subscription for the music at a cost of about $350. The City invested $6,000 toward the purchase of the system and F-S Renaissance paid the remaining $7,242.88.
Additional speakers can be added to the system at a later date to expand the range of sound.