Franklin BOMA discusses condemning First Avenue properties for greenway connector

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Two small parcels of land across First Avenue from the Harpeth Square development in Franklin could eventually be part of a greenway connecting to Bicentennial Park.

At the Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting Tuesday, Assistant City Administrator Vernon Gerth explained the land along the Harpeth River behind Americana Taphouse is owned by 34 family members.

The land belonged to the now-deceased Earl Tywater, the former proprietor of Earl’s Fruit Stand located for many years next to the former Dotson’s Restaurant on East Main Street. 

Just to the north of the land is Anderson’s Auto Repair Shop, a family business which has operated on the spot for around 40 years. 

The parcels are irregularly shaped and would be difficult to develop due to their location in the flood zone. The city’s legal department has determined the land value is worth around $10,000 and is working to pursue condemnation.

If the land is acquired, the goal is to connect to the greenway from Bicentennial Park that terminates at North Margin Street and Second Avenue. 

Harpeth Square’s Chief Operating Officer Steve Bacon said he would like to see the land developed as a small pocket park, showcasing the area’s history.

The First Avenue Bridge was authorized to be built by the Williamson County Court in 1819 and stood as the main route into Franklin from Nashville until Confederate soldiers burned it down in 1862, just prior to Franklin’s Federal occupation.

When the Battle of Franklin was fought in November of 1864, Federal troops didn’t know the main bridge had been destroyed. They rebuilt a pontoon bridge across the Harpeth River to cross on their way to Nashville. 

The current bridge across the Harpeth was built in 1929.

The board will likely vote to move forward with the condemnation at its May 12 meeting.

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