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Septembers Public Affairs Roundtable spotlights Franklin

The Future of Franklin was the topic of Monday morning’s Public Affairs Roundtable sponsored by the Williamson County Chamber of Commerce with host Dave Crouch.
The future of Franklin is “bright,” said Franklin Mayor Dr. Ken Moore, adding, “because of the rapid growth we are projecting a population of 90,000 in 2020 and 120,000 by 2040.”
According to Moore and City Manager Eric Stuckey the city is currently focusing on long term planning, 25-30 years, in anticipation of that growth. 
“The hardest part [about growth] is keeping Franklin, Franklin; maintaining the character while being progressive in jobs and quality of life,” Moore said. “We are fortunate to have the economic generator separate from the historic core—downtown versus Cool Springs. Cool Springs is a part of Franklin.”
Franklin continues to have a strong financial base with a AAA bond rating, and money in the bank, a reserve of 50 percent of the annual operating budget, Stuckey said.
When queried about a proposed new city hall, Stuckey said, “Prior to the recession we were looking at a public/private venture … With the recession financial backing went away. We now actually have a clean slate, now.”
The new Public Works building on Columbia Avenue, formerly 84 Lumber, will be ready for business in mid-2014, Stuckey said. The 15-acre property will also house other city departments in the future.
Two new fire stations, one in Westhaven and one in the Goose Creek area—are in planning stages, Stuckey said. 
Looking to the future, city officials are developing plans for water and sewer needs with a four million gallon per day expansion and improvements to the collection system.
“Water we put back [into the Harpeth] is cleaner than the water we take out,” Stuckey said.
Growth means traffic problems. 
Familiar orange cones, mud and detour signs have become the décor of the day around Franklin and will continue as streets are added, widened and improved. 
The completion of the Mack Hatcher Memorial Parkway extension is still part of the city’s plan, even if it doesn’t show up on the state’s road plan.
However, completion of widening the existing road is projected for 2014.
Fifth Avenue/Hillsboro Road will continue to be a problem for motorists. 
Phase I will be completed by May 2014 and in June Phase II, from Independence Square to Mack Hatcher, will begin.
The project for widening I-65 from Goose Creek to State Route 840 was recently awarded with a completion date of June 2015. 
The project includes rebuilding the interchange at Goose Creek and widening Lewisburg Pike to improve traffic flow in that growing area. 
The Carothers Parkway extension, south to Ladd Park on the east side of I-65, will be completed in August 2015. 
That project includes straightening an existing stretch of Carothers that has been a problem area for motorists.
Transit options are being discussed for areas like the McEwen/Carothers area, the site of the future Ovation development.
The impact of more than 1.5 million square feet of office space, apartments and residential areas from two large developments will put more of a strain on traffic in the Cool Springs area, but a mass transit system may relieve some of that, Moore said.
The public is invited to next Public Affairs Roundtable on Oct. 28 at 7:30 a.m. in the auditorium of the Administrative Complex on West Main Street. Brentwood City Mayor Betsy Crossley and Brentwood City Manager Kirk Bednar will be the guests.

Posted on: 9/25/2013


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