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DNA to BOMA: Reject offer for Five Points building

Skip Anderson
At right, City of Franklin Mayor Dr. Ken Moore, left, presents a proclamation to Franklin Fire Chief Rocky Garzarek declaring the month of October as Fire Prevention Month in the city.

The president for the Franklin Downtown Neighborhood Association asked the Board of Mayor and Aldermen Tuesday to refuse a proposal that would allow a private company to assume management of the old Post Office Building at Five Points.

“This proposal should be rejected,” said Greg Flittner, who lives four blocks from the building.

Tennessee-based FirstBank was the lone entity to submit a formal proposal after the city requested bids earlier this year. Under its plan, the bank would pay the city $24,000 annually for up to 30 years as well as provide up to $3.5 million for repairs and upgrades to the 88-year-old building. The two-story, 15,740-square-foot building currently houses the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County, and a private contract postal unit that provides mail services to the public.

If the city accepts the proposal, Flittner said the city would lose a “community asset,” that could impact the character of the downtown area. He also said the city could possibly lose parking places adjacent to the property and 1,500 post boxes currently housed within the building. Flittner suggested rather than lease the building to a bank for $2,000 per month for up to 30 years as proposed, the city consider using the building as a visitor center, which would also provide additional public restrooms and preserve green space in the downtown area.

BOMA was not scheduled to vote upon the matter or for a public hearing Tuesday night. Flittner's comments came during a portion of the meeting when the legislative body hears comments on any topic from citizens.

The aldermen also opted Tuesday night to send Ordinance 2012-38 back to the Planning Commission for clarification. The measure would revise terminology related to the hotel industry. Alderman Ann Petersen asked for additional information Tuesday, prompting the move. BOMA approved the ordinance on its first of three readings this summer with a vote of 6-2. Tonight would have been the ordinance's second reading.

During the biweekly working session, which takes place prior to each BOMA meeting, the body listened to a proposal from a non-profit organization that would, according to the presenter, generate $750,000 to go toward preserving Civil War battlefields in Franklin from a $250,000 investment from the city.

“We're trying to maximize our ability to raise money for battlefield preservation,” said Mike Grainger, vice chairman of the Civil War Trust. “If the city will donate $250,000, the Civil War Trust will donate $250,000.”

According to Grainger, the city may qualify for a matching grant up to $500,000 from the federal government for the purpose of purchasing property related to the Civil War.

Vice Mayor Mike Skinner said that the $250,000 does not necessarily have to come from the city's budget, and that soliciting private donations to generate the funds might be particularly effective with the 150th anniversary of the ending of the Civil War coming in 2015. The board will decide at a later date whether to consider the proposal.

Aldermen Brandy Blanton, Pearl Bransford, and Dana McClendon were absent from Tuesday's meetings.

Posted on: 9/26/2012


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