Franklin continues making plans for downtown revitalization

Council OKs 60-day extension to complete new development code

A moratorium on development and planned revitalization of downtown Franklin that was due to expire on Feb. 17 has been extended another 60 days.

Franklin City Council on Monday approved the latest extension so that city staff can evaluate the types of projects best suited for the Downtown Revitalization Area and adopt necessary amendments.

The new moratorium extension will expire on April 18.

ExploreFranklin nears completion of downtown, riverfront revitalization plans

This is the third time the moratorium has been extended since the original was approved on Aug. 16, 2021.

During the moratorium extension, city staff will not accept applications for major subdivisions, major site plans, planned unit developments and Zoning Map amendments for new commercial developments within the Downtown Revitalization Area.

“This won’t impact current property owners now,” said Jonathan Westendorf, Franklin’s city manager. “This will set the stage for new development and provide additional flexibility for developers that the existing code doesn’t allow.”

Westendorf said the city is working “with a number of developers and construction announcements could be made later.”

“This is an important step because it allows developers to begin planning projects,” he said. “Everyone will know what the expectations are and we’re going to uphold standards to create and increase value.”

The revitalization of downtown Franklin has been something elected leaders have been thinking about since the 1980s.

ExploreResidents supportive of proposed revitalization plan for downtown Franklin

Plans are nearly completed for the total reconstruction of Main Street, which will become a two-way street with a new streetscape, sidewalks and other amenities to begin in 2023 with a targeted completion in 2024, Westendorf said.

After the Main Street project is completed, Westendorf said the next phase will install new traffic lights with train preemption devices at Sixth and Main streets in 2024.

Concept renditions of amenities being planned by consultants from McBride Dale Clarion and Human Natureinclude a multi-use path connection, extending the civic realm from Fourth and Main streets to a festival street, interactive plaza/water features and a grand overlook of the Great Miami River.

ExploreRiverfront park idea proposed for Franklin’s riverbank

That area will have an accessible path connecting the upper paths with terraced seating and river access, riverview swing, a history-themed play environment and picnic grove at the log cabin, a brewery/restaurant with river views and outdoor dining terrace, parking and kayak access path to the river, widened alleys and an area for future development.

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